The State of Downtown Raleigh

Downtown RaleighWant to get nearly 300 business people, executives, and politicians in one place on a Wednesday morning?  Do an official “State of the Union” type forum and invite a Senior Director from a tech savvy company,an Executive VP, for a large hospitality group, and a newly appointed Economic Development Manager.

Well, that is exactly what happened yesterday at Downtown Raleigh 2012: An Economic Forum held by Downtown Raleigh Alliance.

The first speaker at the two hour forum was Craig Youst, Senior Director – Global Facilities of Red Hat, who spoke about Red Hat’s decision to move into downtown Raleigh over other tech based city cores like Austin and Atlanta.  The move is anticipated to be a 10-year, $1.2 Billion economic impact.  One key point he discussed that “opportunity can knock at anytime”.

Next was John Van Coutren, Executive VP, VG Hospitality. John discussed the decision to build a Hampton Inn & Suites hotel in a challenging Glenwood South district location. He also discussed how they were able to overcome a number of challenges, including financing and construction, in today’s economic situation.

Lastly, Dwight Bassett, the new Economic Development Manager for the City of Raleigh, provided an overview of the city’s new approach to coordinate multiple economic and development initiatives.  He discussed having a strategic and balance growth plan.  He mentioned having private investment being key to economic development.

In addition to hearing great perspectives on downtown Raleigh was the 40+ page publication designed specifically for investors and economic developers with clients interested in exploring a new business in Raleigh’s downtown.

For me, the forum added to what I have come to learn over the past six months of being more aware of and active in downtown Raleigh.  The changes that have occurred here has provided a transformation from a city core that was generally vacant after 5:00 pm and weekends to a vibrant core with an active and attractive work and social scene.

What do you see is the future about downtown Raleigh?

–J. Nolfo helps companies understand their market and customers though a variety of market research strategies. He has over ten years of experience of market research for strategic planning purposes. He is the Director of Research at Rhino Market Research. He shares his thoughts about market research and business concepts with his blog “Pensare…Understanding Market Research in Business“. If you would like to discuss this blog or how J. can help you understand your market and customer needs, email him at

About J. Nolfo
Well...there is a lot to know. #Cx, #Analytics, #SM, Specialty #AgChem, #StL sports, & more. FT @BASFAgProducts. @Mizzou Alum. Supporter of the #Rhino. Tweets my own. #SMMW17 attendee....Dad...Hiker...Scouter...and so much more.

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