The Central Prison

To the east, Raleigh's newly opened Union Station and the revived warehouse district. To the south, Raleigh's future landmark green space, Dix Park. And to the west sits NC State University and it's rapidly expanding Centennial Campus.

A stadium would sit directly across form Raleigh's future crown jewel, Dorthea Dix Park, making the area an elite destination for visitors

Raleigh’s Central Prison, the first prison constructed in North Carolina, sits on 29 acres off of Western Boulevard amid a rapidly changing part of town.

It’s one of the most exciting locations for an MLB stadium but also happens to be the most complicated.

As Raleigh’s downtown footprint grows,  central prison becomes more and more out of place. Located between NC State, Dix Park, Boylan Heights, and the revitalized warehouse district, this land is prime for a unique and exciting development.

Just last year the American Institute of Architects’ held a design charrette called “Connections 81.2” in which they imagined what could one day replace the prison at this site (and the adjacent Governor Morehead School). Opening up that amount of land immediately got our attention and got us to start digging into how a stadium or district would fit in.

While there are no current plans to move central prison, the excitement around the project got the city’s attention and got the public starting to imagine the possibilities. If Raleigh keeps growing as expected, the prison will be moved at some point and what better to take its place than Major League Baseball.

The Experience

Imagine a mixed-use district on the current central prison site, anchored by an MLB stadium. Tourists would come for a weekend series and have no shortage of entertainment options. In between games, visitors could relax by walking over to Raleigh's new destination park (Dorthea Dix) via the land bridge over Western Blvd, or simply walk a few minutes east for dinner and drinks in the revitalized warehouse district. Bordered by the scenic and historic Boylan Heights, this location would give great access to entertainment while still giving that neighborhood vibe a lot like Chicago's Wrigleyville.


Since Western Boulevard is the only current artery for car traffic, alternative methods of ingress/egress would be needed. As pictured in the proposed sketch, fans could access the site by foot from downtown via an enhanced central greenway patterned after Raleigh's bygone Martin Street Viaduct or over Dix Park's planned land bridge. Morgan Street could be extended over the railroad tracks to connect to Western, and the existing Mountford Avenue bridge could be used to connect to the Morgan extension. On-site parking would be reserved for VIP parking or hotel guests and office workers.

Surrounding Community

At one time, Central Prison was on the outskirts of Downtown Raleigh. But, as our city core has grown, the prison has become enveloped with urban development, and it's land is now too valuable to house something more suited for a rural setting. The ballpark complex would seek to blend family-friendly entertainment with mixed-use residential, restaurant, bar, and office buildings, something desirable for both Boylan Heights residents and Dix Park patrons.