2017 R ena i s s anc e P l an U pdat e | T own of W ak e F or e s t
5.3.1 Southern Area
The near-term retail opportunity is greatest in downtown Wake Forest’s southern area. Given the expanded and new concepts planned for the Renaissance Plaza shopping center, the momentum to be generated by a reconnected Brooks Street and the new Retreat at Renaissance townhouse project as well as the advantage of superior connectivity to NC 98 Bypass and South Main Street/US 1A, there is much potential for several vacant or underutilized parcels in this area. From a retail standpoint, the most important sites are the ones currently occupied by DAB International and Suntrust Bank. If these sites were redeveloped to include storefronts along their Elm Avenue elevations, they could help to reestablish some level of pedestrian connectivity between what are now two separate and competing center(s)-of-gravity.
activity, consumers and tenants rather than participating in a symbiotic relationship. In certain respects, this is a competition that the latter appears well-positioned to win, given its plentiful parking and aggressive owners. For this reason, establishing a pedestrian connection between the two becomes vitally important, as a means of increasing cross-traffic and ensuring that the historic core does not become something of an afterthought. Ultimately the goal for future growth is to extend the core southward towards East Holding Avenue, with its civic and community uses. Of the two north-south corridors that extend in that direction, Brooks Street, will likely become the more promising for retail, due to the more direct connection to South Franklin Street and the NC 98 Bypass as well as the planned greenway (via the “Downtown Connector”). South White Street, on the other hand, effectively dead-ends in Heath Ridge Village.
Emerging “Intra-Downtown” Competition
At present, downtown Wake Forest is defined by two separate centers-of- gravity: one along South White Street roughly between The Cotton Company and Roosevelt Avenue and the other at the Renaissance Plaza strip mall. These two centers seem to compete with each other for
New housing units are under construction now and Renaissance Plaza will soon have hundreds of new customers within a 10 minute walk.
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