Durham is classified as a humid subtropical climate according to the Köppen classification, with hot and humid summers, cool winters, and warm to mild spring and autumn. But the warmer weather is not the main reason people love downtown.
In recent years the city of Durham has stepped up revitalization of its downtown and undergone an economic and cultural renaissance of sorts. Partnering with developers from around the world, the city continues to promote the redevelopment of many of its former tobacco districts, projects supplemented by the earlier construction of the Durham Performing Arts Center and new Durham Bulls Athletic Park. The American Tobacco Historic District, adjacent to both the athletic park and performing arts center, is one such project, having successfully lured a number of restaurants, entertainment venues, and office space geared toward hi-tech entrepreneurs, investors, and startups. The American Underground section of the American Tobacco Campus, home to a number of successful small software firms including Red Hat and iContact, was recently selected by Google to host its launch of the Google Glass Road show in October 2013. The district is also slated for expansion featuring 158,000 square feet of offices, retail, residential or hotel space. The Durham County Justice Center, a major addition to downtown Durham, was completed in early 2013.
Additionally, many of the historic tobacco buildings elsewhere in the city have been converted into loft-style apartment complexes. The downtown corridor along West Main St. has seen significant redevelopment including a number of bars, entertainment venues, art studios and co-working spaces, in addition to shopping and dining in nearby Brightleaf Square, another former tobacco warehouse in the Bright Leaf Historic District. Other current and future projects include expansion of the open-space surrounding the American Tobacco Trail, a number of new hotels and apartment complexes, a $6.35-million facelift of Durham City Hall, ongoing redevelopment of the Duke University Central Campus, and construction of the 26-story City Center Building to host residential and office space downtown. In 2013, 21c Museum Hotels announced plans to fully renovate the Hill Building. The renovations will add a contemporary art museum and upscale restaurant to the historic building. Additionally, a boutique hotel will also be built in this major renovation effort in downtown Durham. Skansa Construction is responsible for managing this project.