• What's This?
    Mixed media artist and clothing designer Marie Cordella is just one of the 40 artists whose work can be viewed at ArtSpace, a visual art center that features 23 open studios, three exhibition galleries, lectures, classes and many other stimulating art events.
  • What's This?
    North Carolina State Capitol
    The North Carolina State Capitol, completed in 1840, is one of the finest and best-preserved examples of a major civic building in the Greek Revival style of architecture. It is a National Historic Landmark.
  • What's This?
    Blount Street was once home to rich industrialists and prominent civic leaders, as evidenced by these beautiful, historic homes. Nearby Blount Street Commons, currently under construction, will soon add even more residences, retail shops and parks.
  • What's This?
    Father and Son Antiques
    Father and Son Antiques is home to a bounty of collectables and oddities, from mid-century designs and vintage threads to '50s kitch, tiki, mod, and much more.
  • What's This?
    Wachovia IMAX Theater
    This architectural sculpture marks the entrance of the Wachovia IMAX Theater at Marbles Kids Museum, which provides a larger-than-life movie experience for kids of all ages.
  • What's This?
    Raleigh Times Bar
    The Raleigh Times Bar is located in the beautifully restored 100-year-old former home of the city's evening newspaper. Featuring creative takes on classic bar fare, and an amazing beer selection.


State of Downtown Raleigh Panel Bios

Brent Francese - Runologie, Co-owner and General Manager

Brent has been involved in running retail for over six years as an owner, designer, store manager and inventory operations specialist. He has designed several retail spaces for Fleet Feet Raleigh and been involved on many residential projects for HGTV's "Love It or List It." When not helping customers at Runologie or chasing his twin boys Vin and Whit you may find him on another stage nearby playing drums for his band Jack the Radio.

John LaPenta - Deputy Secretary of the Department of Administration

John was appointed Deputy Secretary of the Department of Administration to oversee the State Construction Office, State Property Office, and Facility Management divisions of the department. In addition, John will oversee Governor McCrory’s Project Phoenix.  Prior to his current position John was the Deputy Director for Special Projects at the Office of State Budget and Management.

James Sauls - City of Raleigh, Economic Development Manager

James and his team are responsible for business recruitment, business retention, marketing, public relations and real estate disposition and development within the City. In addition, he manages all aspects of economic development activities with internal and external entities.

He has worked in both the public and private sector doing economic development for the past nine years in Raleigh and Wake County.  

Anne Stoddard - Grubb Ventures, Director of Development

Anne has 32 years of experience in commercial real estate- 11 years in real estate equity investments and 21 years in commercial development - positioning her to bring relevant experience and entrepreneurial creativity to a wide variety of commercial real estate projects. 

Since joining Grubb Ventures in 2003 as the director of development, Anne has been responsible for underwriting and execution of redevelopment projects, including 3700 Glenwood Avenue, 401 Oberlin and Sojourn Lake Boone Apartments, now under construction.  Anne was previously with Capital Associates in Cary and Copley Real Estate Advisors, an investment advisory firm in Boston.


Jason Widen - HQ Raleigh, Co-Founder and Executive Director; Forward Impact, Co-Founder

Jason brings an extensive background as an investor, developer, and entrepreneur to his current role as Co-Founder of HQ Raleigh, an award-winning entrepreneurial co-working space located in downtown Raleigh. Seeking to develop the pipeline of young entrepreneurs is one of Jason's passions.  He is the Founder of ThinkHouse, an intentional living community and accelerator for post-graduate entrepreneurs.  Recently, he expanded this concept into an undergraduate program in conjunction with UNCG, ThinkHouseU. Jason's other recent projects include the founding of RevGen and raising capital for the purchase and development of HQ expansion sites.



To register for the 2016 State of Downtown Raleigh, click here.