For those of you who frequent downtown Durham, the green wall is an unfortunate punchline, a reminder of failed developments during the Great Recession. The building has no roof (but there is a piano inside), and at one time it was feared the green wall was so unstable it could fall.
But the green wall is also a landmark that I've grown fond of. I can see the facade, its paint exfoliated over the years by the elements, from my office window. I love the adjacent green space, a de facto park, where the Woolworth's Building used to be.
Paradoxos, the tech conference sponsored by American Underground, convened in Durham last weekend, and in addition to whatever techies do (networking? drinking? zipping around on Razor scooters?), it hosted a painting of a mural on the notorious green wall. The artists worked only at night, with lights mounted on the cherry picker that hoisted them to the top of the wall. There are small inset paintings mixed with graffiti from previous artists, and the entire presentation brightens that corner of Main and Corcoran streets.
To me, the wall—and the park—say community. They say if no one else is going to steward these public places, the people will—and sometimes in eccentric ways. So, thanks, Paradoxos, for adding your two cents.
In the not-too-distant future,the green wall will be among the many casualties of the Bull City's hotel and condo mania. Greenfire Development, which owned the building and the land, sold it to Austin-Lawrence Partners of Colorado. That company is planning to tear down the building as part of its 26-story skyscraper planned for the adjacent park.