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Life on Campus at NC State: February 2021

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Montreal Canadiens v Carolina Hurricanes Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images

The last time I posted one of these was back in December 2020. At that time, NC State was about to end a pretty solid athletics year where multiple teams won ACC titles prior to the shut down, football had just capped off an 8-3 regular season without its starting QB, and both basketball programs were off to a great start to their 2020-2021 seasons. Since then, a lot of bad has happened sports-wise that I simply do not care for at all (especially in this last god awful week), so I figured it’d be a good time to post something decidedly not-sports.

Future of PNC Arena:

As a quick refresher for those who don’t remember, PNC Arena is the place where live sporting and entertainment events were held in the before times. At one time, it was even aptly named the Entertainment and Sports Arena.

Well back in June of last year, Gale Force (who manages PNC Arena) agreed to a term sheet with the Centennial Authority (who owns PNC Arena) on a lease extension for the Hurricanes that will keep the Canes in PNC through at least the 2028-2029 season. That agreement included various penalties if the team was moved elsewhere prior to 2024 and then subsequent penalties each year through the end of the lease term in 2029. The term sheet was laid out last year and it appears the sides are moving closer to a fully executed agreement in the near term.

Now in the last week, Raleigh Mayor Mary-Ann Baldwin has started the process of putting together a group that will be tasked with looking at whether it would be better to leave the arena where it is, or to look at “moving it” elsewhere (i.e., who is ready for more Downtown Raleigh arena discussions!!). Baldwin noted that there is reason to finally believe that the Blue Ridge Road area will finally start seeing some economic and commercial real estate development with “Bandwidth” building their new headquarters close by on Edwards Mill Road, as well as new Blue Ridge Road traffic flow improvements expected to be completed in 2023.

My personal opinion on this is that I’d love to see the Canes play in a downtown arena and for State to play in a new ~15k person arena on Centennial Campus. However, I don’t think that’s feasible for two reasons, (1) the simple cost it would take to build one - if not two - new arenas in the area and (2) I don’t think Downtown Raleigh as it currently stands has the infrastructure necessary to support an ~18k person arena. That may change once the Downtown South project starts to shape up and become more of a reality, but that project itself is still in its infancy (plus, I’m still not really sure what Raleigh is doing moving ahead with a development centered around a 20k person soccer stadium).

I think PNC is a gorgeous arena compared to most of the others that I’ve been to, but there isn’t any denying that the surrounding area has been devoid of virtually any development since the Arena opened in 1999 (unless you’ve got a Backyard Bistro fetish). This seems like as good a time as any to re-start this “Future of PNC” conversation again given that the arena will be 30 years old at the end of the Canes’ current lease term and costly improvements and renovations have already been discussed. I’m really curious as to the honest thoughts of Canes majority owner Tom Dundon on where he’d like to see the Canes play going forward.

“Cameron Village” to Become “Village District”:

Cameron Village recently announced it will be rebranding and changing the name of the shopping center near NC State’s campus to the “Village District”. The reason behind the change was that the namesake of Cameron Village was an individual who was one of the largest slave owners on the East Coast.

More Hillsborough Street Apartments:

A theme of these Life on Campus posts has been that apartments have been going up all over Hillsborough Street in the last 6-7 years. This new potential development site sits at a former car repair shop on the end of the street away from Downtown and is in the same area as the Uncommon, Standard and Stanhope complexes. A bit farther down the street, more apartments are planned across from where the Arby’s is located.

Harris Teeter to Replace Western K-Mart:

I touched on this a bit back in December, but the entire area between Blue Ridge Road and Western Boulevard near campus appears that it will soon be going through big changes. The K-Mart that has been there forever recently closed and the movie theater right up the road closed as well. It sounds like Harris Teeter will be the first part of the new development in the area and will take the place of where the K-Mart shell currently stands.

Memorial Belltower Rededication:

Construction on NCSU’s Memorial Belltower, now located at Henry Square, appears to be nearly complete, with a spring rededication planned. The link above shows all of the improvements made to the site and to the structure throughout 2020-2021. There’s a live stream found here that shows the site, where you can see some of the improvements made to the surrounding platform and area. NCSU has also launched a new Belltower clothing line that they will be making, marketing, and selling entirety on their own.

The State Club to be Dissolved:

The State Club is a members-only club that was housed in the Park Alumni Center over on Centennial Campus. Per their website, “The State Club Board of Directors has regrettably voted to dissolve The State Club effective December 31, 2020.” It sounds as though this only applies to the actual membership Club run out of the facility, but the building also houses a restaurant and event space.

Solar Panels on Murphy Center:

Solar panels are going up on the Murphy Center as part of a plan to reduce Carter-Finley’s energy consumption. No word yet on if anyone will also be installing workable in-stadium Wi-Fi or a new cell tower to go along with these panels.

Cheeni Coffee to Open on Hillsborough Street:

Cheeni Coffee currently has one location in Downtown Raleigh, but they recently announced they’ll be opening a second location with a full kitchen that will be within walking distance to NC State.

Carmichael Gym Renovations:

I mentioned this back in December as well, but Carmichael Gymnasium recently finished with some pretty massive renovations to its complex. The link above has a few additional pictures of the new space and a live stream can be found here that shows the exterior of the new building.

Avent Ferry Shopping Center Purchased:

The Avent Ferry shopping center that sits down at the Avent Ferry / Gorman Street intersection was recently sold for nearly $16 million to a Maryland real estate firm. No word yet on what their plans are for the shopping center, but aside from a few mainstays there like Food Lion - that entire complex has seen a revolving door of tenants for a long time now (RIP Cueva de Lobos dollar taco nights).

“Campus Mart and Deli” to Open:

I drove down Hillsborough earlier this week and saw that “Campus Mart and Deli” will be opening underneath of the 2604 Hillsborough St Apartments in a space formerly occupied by a Crepe shop and then later a Poke Bar.

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Go Pack, bring on baseball.