The City has acquired the site of the former Carpenter Chevrolet dealership on Main Street for the future site of a new Police Department Headquarters. Two historic buildings are directly impacted. Also, this project has major implications for the Downtown Historic District and connections between Downtown and East Durham.
Issue Overview and Background
In 2013, the Durham Police Department announced their intention to vacate their current headquarters on W. Chapel Hill St., and construct a new building. After reviewing three potential sites, the 600 block of E. Main Street, including the former Carpenter Motor Co. site, was selected. This parcel, including the 1923 Carpenter Chevy building, is one of the last major sites available for development between Goldenbelt and downtown.
Durham has been a leader in the public and private reuse of historic industrial buildings. Preservation Durham believes that this 4.5 acre site includes several historic structures that are prime for redevelopment, whether included in the Police Department's program or carved off for compatible private use. Additionally, this section of Main Street is a vital connection to Golden Belt and the East Durham neighborhoods. The pedestrian environment and street activating businesses should be accounted for in the design.
- These rock-solid masonry and street structures are intact, largely still occupied, and fully re-developable.
- East Main Street has already lost many of its historic structures to parking lots and unengaging public buildings. Let's not tear down anymore.
- Beginning with the demolition of several historic structures is hardly appropriate for a project that aims for sustainability.
- The city and its residents have a great deal invested in the redevelopment of Golden Belt and in the success of the East Durham neighborhoods. It would be a shame for the Police Headquarters site to form a bunker that isolates them from the vitality of downtown.