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Suburbia Has Nothing on Downtown, More Families Find

Posted October 11, 2007

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— High-rise condominiums aren't the only housing option in downtown Raleigh. About 4,300 single-family homes are around downtown, and hundreds more are under construction in three developments.

"Everything we want is down here," said Penny Lawrence, who lives with her husband and daughter in the Village at Pilot Mill. "It's like a small town down here."

The neighborhood off Halifax Street north of Peace Street provides $500,000 homes with lush landscaping, similar to many subdivisions in north Raleigh and Cary.

"I think there's a good 40 or 50 restaurants we can walk to from our house, so I'll give up a yard for that," Lawrence said.

Nearly all of the 100 homes in the 2-year-old Pilot Mill development have been sold, and city planners said living downtown with children is becoming an easier sell as the area develops.

"We do see a lot of families moving in the Oakwood area, (off) New Bern (Avenue), and now we're seeing (more) around East Street as well," Raleigh Planning Director Mitchell Silver said.

More than 160 single-family homes are under construction near Chavis Park, and plans are moving along for 500 units in Blount Street Commons. Silver said three other single-family home developments near downtown are in the preliminary planning stages.

"We want to have not just young professionals, we want to have families downtown because they tend to stay in downtown for a long period of time," said David Diaz, president and chief executive of the Downtown Raleigh Alliance.

The growing number of families also opens the door to more economic development downtown, Diaz said.

"Whether (it's) a grocery store, hardware store, pharmacy – these things are important to families, and they have to be within walking distance," he said.


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  • jeffthompson Oct 12, 2007

    Everyone is so down on Rapid Transit or Light Rail....WHY?

    Light rail opens here in Charlotte in 43 days (Nov 25th)...the 1st line (South Line)...then they are gonna work on the North Line...then the Northeast Line...then the West Line...it will take years & millions of dollars...and of course...alot of Charlotteans are against it...

    Would they rather sit in traffic in excess on 1hr each way like a huge percentage do every day...NO THANKS!!!

  • TheWB Oct 12, 2007

    da da dadit da da....da da dadit da da
    Greeen acres is the place for me....

  • pleshy Oct 12, 2007

    Herbicide - poison for plants. I don't have pets (what a hassle they are). Not too bad for humans as long as you don't drink it. I like it because it kills plants dead. Fast. And no need for a string trimmer.

    Closeness of houses - What do you think houses are made of? I can't hear my neighbors on either side unless the windows are open. My home theater I can't even hear it outside my house, much less inside my neighbors house. Plus as a rule I don't associate with neighbors. No need to: keeps them from dropping by and borrowing stuff, selling me cookies or bothering me. I don't even know my neighor's names. I have security system for the police and fire so no issue there. I have friends, they come over when invited and leave when time to do so. that is how I like it.

  • Yelena Oct 12, 2007

    To finish my thought....

    well planned out subways can be a quick and economical alternitive to driving. The average tank of gas in a minivan costs 65$. When I lived in boston, I paid 90$ for a T pass, another 40 to park (monthly) and got to spend an hour reading. And that, is on a very old, poorly planned system. I got to avoid traffic that was at a dead stop. It saved time and money.

    It was also dirty. I have paid signifigantly more for the subway in Montreal, and it was a much cleaner experience. Worth the extra few dollars.

  • jeffthompson Oct 12, 2007

    I grew up in Raleigh and glad to see downtown Raleigh is finally taking off...it sat very stagnant for many years.

    I moved to Charlotte 15 years ago and lived in Uptown Charlotte until about 14 months ago...LOVED it.

    Could walk to Bank of America Stadium, Charlotte Bobcats Arena, Many restaurants & clubs, -2- grocery stores (Reids Fine Food & Harris Teeter).

    5 new highrise towers are fixing to open or just opened (all residential)...many over 1 million...where are all these youngsters getting this kinda money to scarf them up.

    "One Charlotte" hasn't even broke ground yet and is almost 1/2 sold out...units start at 1.5 million and go to 10 million for an 8,000 sq foot penthouse...crazy.

    They broke ground across the street from where the new Ritz Carlton hotel is going up on the "Epicentre"...50 story residential high rise, restaurants, clubs, movie theater, bowling alley, high end "W' Hotel...etc.

    Light rail opens in 4 weeks (finally)...traffic is insane here!

  • Yelena Oct 12, 2007

    Steve, Has raleigh ever had plans for a lite rail? Are we talking subway, or above ground trolly?

    Above ground rail transit is not useful. They are slower than underground subways, cause more traffic than they alleviate, and are not as versitile as a bus. They are a bad idea.

    State goverment does wind up subsudizing public transportation to some extent. I am not a supporter of that. Like a toll road, it should be designed to pay for itself over time. I spend 7$ in gas each day to get my daughter back and forth to her magnet school, 35 miles away. If I could get her to within a reasonable walking distance, I would pay up to 10$ a day to do so. Time on the train together would be well spent.

    Mass Transit makes a lot of sence, if it's planned well, well thought out, and paid for in large part, by the people who use it.

  • needham4444 Oct 12, 2007

    People in many cities have been moving further and further out for 30 years. It is a blessing that the direction may have turned around a little bit. For those that want so-called "smart growth" and restrictions on building, this will only cause there to be less and less affordable housing by restricting competition for building and making the pool of available land more expensive. Chatham Co. is headed the way of unaffordability.

  • Steve Crisp Oct 12, 2007

    If those are your reasons for accepting the expense of light rail transit, then you are wasting your time.

    To begin with, I don't think there is a transit system in the entire world where the ridership fees solely pays for it. Every one runs a loss and requires significant additional and continuous funding via tax dollars to function.

    Second, the reduction in congestion of light rail is insignificant when compared to the total traffic volume under most circumstances. And in a situation like it would be in Raleigh where rail would not be commuter, the impact would be negligable.

    Finally, the total pollution does not just have to do with cars displaced via ridership. You have to take into account the use of cars to get to the stations, the pollution caused by the construction of the rails and the train itself, the maintenence of the rails and train, and the energy source used to power the train. You also have to consider additional car travel time for for those roads cut by the rail.

  • Yelena Oct 12, 2007

    iamforjustice, I'm in total agreement with you. Lite rails are fantastic, they reduce congestion, polution, and are paid for by the people who utilize them.

  • iamforjustice Oct 12, 2007

    We need a lite rail transit system.