Bull City, NC – A Holy Moly Moment

by | October 12, 2018 |

Bull City = Durham, North Carolina. If you’re curious, read how Durham got its nickname.

Me, I’m more interested in what’s happening here now. Look at the title image again. I can hardly imagine a more ordinary building.  Let’s call it ‘unpreposessing.’ The address is 1107 West Main Street, and it sits right across from the Residence Inn where I’ve stayed many times before and am staying again for the next month or so.

Or, rather, sat across the street. Because when I returned to Durham after four months out of the country, I saw this, yes, an empty lot:

Bull City

Then I read the sign: “Bartlett. Residences from $350K to over $1 million.” Wait. $1 million? No, over $1 million. Are they serious?

They must be, because it’s happening all over downtown.

Check out what The Bartlett will look like.

Durham is going from pokey to posh.

At least in its luxury condo market, but not necessarily in all its new apartment venues, like the complexes going up all over town.

I decided to get out to see exactly what has happened downtown in the last four months. I didn’t have far to go, because a couple buildings to the east of The Bartlett is now the nearly completed Solis:

Bull City

I think these are apartments, and they hulk on Main Street, making them hardly the prettiest things on the block.

Anyway, notice the red truck in the lower right corner. It’s a food truck that evidently sells chicken dishes whose tagline is the clever: Poultry in Motion. For the non-native speakers of English who read this blog, the base phrase for the pun is: Poetry in Motion. Good one.

Listen to the oldie by Johnny Tillotson Poetry in Motion.

Then there’s another apartment complex going up called Foster on the Park:

Bull City

At the corner of Foster and Corporation

In the middle left-hand side of the photo, above, is the luxury condo building The Brannan. Here’s a closer view of it:

Bull City

It opened last year and overlooks the Farmer’s Market. I’m taking the photo on Foster Street

To the left of The Brannan in the photo, above, you see the back of another new building. From the front it’s this:

Bull City

I’m now on Morgan Street, with my back towards Five Points

What is this building? I have no idea.

In the center of it all, of course, is the glass-and-steel retail/apartment/condo One City Center, which is nearing completion:

Bull City

For long-time residents of Durham, these changes have come blindingly fast – and I’m showing you only a fraction of the new buildings that have gone up in the past two years at most.

One massive apartment complex that now dominates the north part of downtown is Liberty:

Bull City

Across Liberty’s front street (Foster) is the construction zone for Foster on the Park. However, across its back street (Rigsbee) is this:

Bull City

Now, that’s more like it!

This is the Durham we all know (and love?): abandoned properties, neglected corners, maybe waiting for something to happen.

Well, now it is.


Down from the Residence Inn on Buchanan Street, where Trinity deadends into East Campus, there’s yet another luxury condo project, Wheatland Residences, in the works:

Bull City

All this luxury construction is hard to believe, and I’m chronicling it, in part, to convince myself it’s real.

See also: Durham, NC: The Old and the New

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This post was written by Julie Tetel Andresen

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