Developer taking second shot at student apartments on Hillsborough Street
Posted April 6, 2015
Raleigh, N.C. — A developer may get a do-over as Raleigh leaders revamp Hillsborough Street.
FMW Real Estate has asked the City Council to rezone a 2.2-acre site between Montgomery and Furches streets – a few blocks east of the Meredith College campus – to make room for student apartments.
The company initially planned a five-story building on the property, but city planners rejected that idea after residents in the University Park neighborhood complained. So, FMW went back to the drawing board to make several changes in hopes of compromising with the community.
Rezoning requests for the same property aren't typically heard within two years of a denial, but Raleigh's Planning Commission has recommended an exception in this case.
"The property owner has come back and is going to ask for a rezoning that I believe is going to be four stories maximum, which is more in accord with the council's interest and more in accord with the neighbors' interest," Planning Commission Vice Chairman J.B. Buxton said Monday.
"You're seeing, up and down Hillsborough, a lot of interest in bringing activity to that street, including some residential options," Buxton said, noting extensive development along the thoroughfare, especially near the North Carolina State University campus.
Although the commission has recommended the waiver, the City Council still has the final vote on whether to allow FMW to rezone the property. Nearby residents are still concerned about the proposal, which would involve razing several buildings on the site.
The Sigma Pi fraternity house is among the buildings that would face the wrecking ball if the student apartment building is approved.
"Having lived in the house and knowing the history – it used to be a bed and breakfast – there's a lot of things they can do with the house other than knock it down," Sigma Pi member Jake Ruggles said.
"It's just another skyline in Raleigh that we don't need yet," resident Cameron Clement said. "I enjoy the older architecture down this way. It keeps a classic N.C. State appearance."