Former hospital in North Carolina to be transformed into boutique hotel

Eloise Hanson By Eloise Hanson
09 July 2019 | Updated 10 July 2019

US: The Dorothea Dix Park development in Raleigh, North Carolina, will see a former psychiatric hospital transformed into a boutique hotel.

The Dorothea Dix Park development, in Raleigh, North Carolina, is the largest park project in the United States and will spread over 300 acres.

The project has been described by the former director of NYC Parks, Adrian Benepe, as "the most exciting and important urban park project in America today" and will provide a boutique hotel, arts space, a community incubator, sports courts, and botanic gardens.

The City of Raleigh bought the Dorothea Dix campus back in 2015, and over the next three-and-a-half years, along with the consultant team led by Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates, the City held extensive public engagements for community members to share their ideas for the future park.

The Master Plan, which outlines the overall vision and framework of the park, is the beginning of a much more detailed process to design the park in phases, whereby an implementation plan is already underway for phase one.

Phase one begins with improvements to the sites edges, while the subsequent phases fill in towards the middle. Altogether, the park will be comprised of six distinct landscapes: The Creek, The Grove, The Meadow (all naturalistic environments); and The Ridge, The Gateway, The Valley (to accommodate active uses and programs).

The historic mental hospital, located within The Ridge, is named after its founder Dorothea Lynde Dix. Transforming this into a boutique hotel is to help offset the park's cost, although the hospital's dense structure and varied architectural condition lends for careful strategies to rehabilitate the property.

According to the Dorothea Dix Park Master Plan, February 2019, the most culturally significant buildings of the hospital campus will be preserved and renovated, whilst others will be demolished to make way for gardens and plazas.

For a park of this size and complexity, the Master Plan could take decades before it reaches completion.

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