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Citizen Group Votes For Downtown Rezoning, Apartments

Posted April 7, 2008

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— A citizens' group recommended that the city government extend the boundaries of downtown a little bit to allow the construction of an apartment building near an historic neighborhood.

Developer Gordon Smith envisions building a four-story apartment building with about 200 units on a 2-acre lot at Bloodworth and Martin Streets.

Although a thriving downtown lies on one side of the lot, historic neighborhoods bound it on the other sides. Constructing an apartment building there will require extending downtown overlay district, essentially rezoning the lot.

The Central Citizens' Advisory Council met Monday night to hear Smith present his case for the development.

Smith said that while the rent is still undecided, he guaranteed it would be more affordable than high-end condominiums for sale elsewhere in downtown.

"So this adds diversity to the downtown housing area, as well as adding diversity to this immediate neighborhood," Smith said.

Traditionally, the citizens' group has fought this type of development in their area. Some speakers said they want to see their neighborhood thrive with business and would rather see a grocery or drug store on that corner.

"We are looking for the opportunity to stabilize our community some homeownership opportunity," said Lonnette Williams, chairwoman of the Central Citizens' Advisory Council.

The citizens' group and Smith, though, seemed to find some agreement on the strategic importance of the lot at Bloodworth and Martin, between historic residential neighborhoods and downtown.

"We can attract people who want to walk to work and hopefully not drive a vehicle," Smith said.

"We recognize where we are located, that we are a part of downtown and the changes that are occurring," Williams said. "We can't be like ostriches with our heads buried in the sand."

The citizens' group's approval of the rezoning and development plans will next be considered by city planners.

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  • nisa-pizza Apr 8, 2008

    I think it's time for the Raleigh powers-that-be to take notes from REAL "big-cities" like NYC, Miami or Atlanta. You'll see that you can't go more than a few blocks without running into a corner grocery store, bakery, deli, clothing store, drug store.

    I honestly don't see how we continue to make it high on these "best places" lists when the residents and people who work in the area can't buy things they need/want. The people who judge these things can't be looking at things like convience of shopping for this as a criteria.

    I'd be pretty upset if I came from a larger city and bought a condo downtown only to find out the I have to use my precious, EXPENSIVE gas to drive to the grocery store miles away. There's hardly anything like that downtown to sustain a community at all.

    WAKE UP RALEIGH!!

  • NE Raleigh Apr 8, 2008

    Building condos downtown is fine, but there should be planning for supermarkets and retail stores too.

  • nisa-pizza Apr 8, 2008

    They keep building all of these condos and office buildings and are not thinking that these people would probably like to be able to shop for things like groceries etc. You can't have a neighborhood without essentials like grocery stores. A restaurant will feed you for that particular meal only.

    If the city planners were smart they'd take advantage of the fact that people are tired of having to spend their money on expensive gas to drive to other parts of the city to get necessaties.

    If they want people to move to downtown they need to think of it as a community/neighborhood or people won't be willing to move there or STAY there for that matter.