Raleigh May Be Getting Its First Social District

Move over Fayetteville Street—Midtown could be Raleigh’s first social district.

In the words of Natasha Bedingfield, we’re “so close you can almost taste it.” …  “It” being the refreshing mixed drink or beer you’ll be sipping as you mill around Raleigh’s first social district. The question yet to be answered though is: Where will that social district be?

ICYMI, back in September, Gov. Roy Cooper signed House Bill 890 into law, making it legal for cities and counties to create social districts as of Oct. 1. Now, the city attorney is working to hammer out the details of what one in Raleigh would require—and, once decided, the city will begin the process of choosing a location.

So far, several ideas have been raised. City Council, for example, is discussing the possibility of Fayetteville Street in its Economic Development & Innovation Committee. 

“Other cities have their social districts up and running. I think the biggest one is Greensboro,” says Council Member Jonathan Melton, who chairs the committee. “It’s really just people walking around on a Saturday with a glass of wine or a beer, going into a store, sitting on a bench… and so that’s sort of the environment I hope that we’re able to cultivate—some vibrancy, some support for the small businesses along that corridor, and just an atmosphere of folks wanting to get together safely and enjoy the city.”

While Fayetteville Street could be a great start, it will be challenging to approve because several landlords will have to buy in on the idea, a reality that has given other districts with a single landlord—like Smoky Hollow and North Hills (owned by Kane Realty Corporation)—the inkling they could be the premiere social district. Glenwood South is also vying for that distinction.   

And while we don’t have an (Ever)clear view of the future, rest assured, we will all soon be raising our booze-filled, appropriately marked to-go containers to the opening of Raleigh’s first social district.
Cheers to that!

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Angela Brown
Angela Brown is the author of our Business & Economy section.