Developers talk about reviving underground area of Cameron Village

The Cameron Village underground area as it now looks with pealing paint. Photo by David Hurst/CBS North Carolina

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — Before it was the spot to grab brunch and browse boutiques, Cameron Village was the kind of place where bands like then up-and-comers REM made appearances.


Back in the 70s and 80s, the Village Subway, or as it came to be known, the Raleigh Underground, was home to nightclubs, restaurants, and shops.

The underground area has been shut down for decades, but property owners are looking at ways to potentially bring it back.

A spokesperson for York Properties, the company that owns Cameron Village, says it’s too early in the process to discuss any details and there’s no master plan, but there have been discussions about bringing back Raleigh Underground.

The Village Subway opened in 1972 and was considered the place to be if you wanted to experience Raleigh nightlife.


Rosanne Minick, the owner of Little Art Gallery Cameron Village, says she vividly remembers nights of live music and will never forget the feeling of walking down those stairs.

“It was fun going up and down and truly going down into the bowels of the Earth,” said Minick. “My memories of the Village Subway were good times and good music.”

The Village Subway shutdown in 1984 in part because of drug use, the fire code and customer safety. The 20,000 square-foot area has since remained vacant and many are excited at the possibility of Raleigh Underground making a comeback.

“I think it’s an awesome idea,” said Sonya Murphy, who was shopping at Cameron Village on Monday. “Bring it on. Keep building up Raleigh. This is the Capital City so let’s show them how to do it.”

And for Minick, she says a return would bring back some nostalgia and also attract some new customers to her shop.

“I think it’d be fun,” said Minick. “It would get people to the Cameron Village area and let them know there’s a lot going on here.”

Underground Raleigh made a brief comeback two years ago when they opened for one night.

The “One Night Only” event included a 70s cover band and an arcade.


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