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Development pushing some out of downtown Raleigh

Posted November 7, 2014

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— A growing demand for new housing in and near downtown Raleigh could mean an end to some of the more affordable housing options.

That's the case for residents of more than 50 houses and duplexes that make up Brookview Community on Watauga and Virginia streets in the city's historic Oakwood neighborhood.

When their leases expire within the next year, they will have to find new places to live.

Developers plan to tear down the cluster of low-income homes, which sit on 7.5 acres of land and date to the post-World War II era, to make room for more expensive single-family homes.

Neil Gustafson, a broker representing Brookview owner Kip-Dell Homes Inc., said maintaining the aging homes has been too costly and that the company is selling the property, listed for $5.3 million, out of economic necessity.

"These units have been in for a long time, and they've reached the end of their economic life," Gustafson said. "It's taken so much money for them to maintain the property that they’re not generating significant cash flow."

With downtown getting denser and real estate at a premium, more developers are looking to build in the area.

Gustafson says he expects more older homes to go.

"There's a demand for new housing that these older units – that are not in good condition – are going to be torn down and replaced with newer units that are better and that people enjoy," Gustafson said.

For those living at Brookview, where monthly rent is approximately $500, Kip-Dell will honor their leases and also help them find new housing.

But residents like Tina Pollard, who value the affordability and proximity to downtown, are left in a bind.

"It's a great place to live, especially for your children," she said. "School's around the corner."

Pollard has a 6-year-old daughter and another child on the way. She moved in three months ago and is not confident that she will find another affordable housing option in the same area.

"There's going to be three of us, so we're going to have to go for a one-bedroom again," Pollard said. "It's going to be tight. It's going to be a struggle."

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  • InvolvedCitizen Nov 7, 2014

    It's sad because I'm sure the new development will be far from "affordable". Once upon a time I rented a similar kind of place in an area called Whitaker Park off Noble Road. It was basic shelter in a cool neighborhood with low rent... and no froo-froo amenities. Affordable for young people just starting out. But now they're torn down and replaced with McMansions. No room for the regular folk.