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Development to Preserve Historic Raleigh Homes

Posted August 7, 2007

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— Developers and the state government are close to signing on the line for a major project that would preserve historic homes along Blount Street.

The state is selling the Victorian homes it owns along Blount Street, just north of the Governor's Mansion.

Those houses, which the state uses for offices, will be restored as single-family homes by LNR Properties under the $20 million deal.

The Blount Street district, which is listed in the National Register of Historic Places, was Raleigh's premier address during its heyday.

The neighborhood flourished from the Civil War until the early 1900s, and the state bought homes in the 1960s for a development project that never happened.

"We want to try and reconnect pieces that have been separated for decades," Doug Redford, a senior project manager with LNR, said.

The 21-acre tract being bought by LNR also contains several empty parking lots. The site is bounded by Peace Street on the north, Lane Street on the south, Person Street on the east and Wilmington Street on the west.

LNR said it plans to move eight outlying homes onto those parking lots.

"It's a hole in the middle of this area of downtown. The 1,374 parking spaces that are there are not a good use of that space," Redford said.

The space opened by the relocation of the homes will be used for further development, Redford said.

That development could be crucial in creating a thriving community along Blount Street, David Diaz, president of the Downtown Raleigh Alliance, said.

"As we have more and more residents moving to downtown and to this area as part of the Blount Street development, you always need a center in a center that provides the daily services that these people need," Diaz said.

LNR's development along Blount Street will respect the history of the neighborhood, Redford said.

"There's value to those historic homes. There's value to the context of those homes there," Redford said.

"And it's important to give that context its own place, and then to build around it and reflect architecturally that historic heritage," he said.

32 Comments

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  • Fandemonium Aug 9, 2007

    Pinklady1 - It's a subsidized rate of $10 per month which has not changed in 30 years. There was a study conducted that found 15% of the parking spaces were not being utilized - that is why there was some discussion about repurposing some of the downtown lots. However, goodness forbid a state employee has to walk 3 or 4 blocks to work. After seeing some of the state employees on the quad smoking cigs and chomping down on fast food, no wonder a majority look to be 100+ lbs. overweight.

  • Raydianse Aug 9, 2007

    pinklady1- Good, I am happy to hear that. Although I think using the term EVERY STATE EMPLOYEE is incorrect - EVERY encompasses a heck of a lot more than just the people that work at the court house or Garland building downtown - EVERY STATE EMPLOYEE means any one who is employed anywhere in the state of NC.

  • doodad Aug 8, 2007

    Crisp, maybe I need to re-write my post. I am in favor of preserving the older structures. "Developing" the parking lots include moving outlying homes from other areas onto those lots. I happen to live in the house my grandfather built in 1935, and by the way it has plaster walls and wiring that is in perfect shape and the whole stucture was built from heart pine harvested from a relative's timber. It also has a rolled tin roof. I appreciate old things because they have history and deserve to be protected and preserved and that also includes open lands.

  • pinklady-1 Aug 8, 2007

    @Raydianse...every state employee that works downtown pays for their parking space, out of our paycheck...you, as a taxpayer, are NOT paying for my parking space!

  • 68_polara Aug 8, 2007

    This is nice to see. Some of these older homes have so much more personality than these cheap vinyl sided barn looking things they call houses these days.

  • Raydianse Aug 8, 2007

    I am glad the state is finally doing some productive with this land. I say if they want tear the houses down and build high-rises or whatever they want – If ya'll are really concerned about the welfare of the state employees parking then pay for them – because one way or the other we are paying for it – taxes etc – at least this way it would be a choice. Many of you who are complaining about the busses are the same ones who were glad that the city was making the busses go onto Brier Creek property & now are saying how “awful” the busses are – stay on one side of the fence or the other – so it seems to me that as long as the government is telling someone what to do with their land you are happy – I am so thrilled with the development in downtown – it is safer, cleaner, attracting more business. Raleigh has needed this for a long time!

  • Steve Crisp Aug 8, 2007

    Right doodad...

    One house on two acres as a residence for one family. As opposed to a high rise on the same footprint with perhaps hundreds of residents. And I suppose that you also complain about suburban sprawl and traffic.

    Make up your mind; you can't have it both ways.

  • doodad Aug 8, 2007

    I am thankful that the historic district will be developed. Too many historic buildings and homes have been demolished in the past and replaced with "ordianry" structures. Surely, the city of Raleigh can consruct parking decks and provide transit to the downtown area like RDU airport does with park and ride transit.

  • colliedave Aug 8, 2007

    Colliedave, The mayor of Raleigh has nothing to do with the State of North Carolina selling land

    And he isn't pushing for the city to buy the Dorthea Dix property. Sure. And tomorrow we get a snowstorm.

  • Rocknhorse Aug 8, 2007

    Steve - Yes, we are completely re-doing the wiring and plumbing. Basically, we're keeping the "skeleton" of the house and replacing everything else - new windows, siding, sheetrock, plumbing, wiring. We're keeping the hardwood floors b/c they were installed by my husband's grandfather and they are immaculate. And the staircase will remain original. Otherwise, it will be like having a new house.

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