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Downtown Raleigh project mixes old, new homes

Posted June 26, 2008

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— Crews broke ground Thursday on what downtown boosters have called one of the biggest urban redevelopment projects in the nation.

The Blount Street Commons project will eventually include nearly 500 new homes amid 25 historic Victorian homes in a six-block area near downtown. Some of the century-old residences were jacked up off their foundations and moved to new locations in the development.

"We do think it's a unique project. We think it's a different kind of urban lifestyle to mix in the old, the new and green space," said Doug Redford, senior asset manager for Miami-based developer LNR Property Corp.

The Blount Street neighborhood is listed in the National Register of Historic Places, having flourished from the Civil War until the early 1900s.

The state bought up much of the property decades ago, turning many of the homes into government offices and cutting the area off from nearby neighborhoods. That created what critics have described as a "dead zone" in recent years.

"The value of the Blount Street project is that it's extending that 'historicity,' if you will, to another part of the city, which has been a little slower to maintain that," said Bruce Miller, who lives nearby.

The new homes in the 21-acre development will include architectural features that blend with the historic homes, and they will be built in a range of styles, from row houses to loft apartments to condominiums above retail shops. Homes prices will range from $200,000 to more than $1 million.

"I think what it's going to do is return this part of Raleigh to its original roots. That's how this part of Raleigh was originally, it was single-family homes," said Diane Berger, who lives nearby.

Mayor Charles Meeker and other city officials said the mix of pedestrian-friendly streets and retail in the Blount Street Commons project could be the standard for future redevelopment efforts.

"You see a lot of high-rises going up downtown, and we need to provide more choices – more opportunities both in types of housing and also price point – so that we can truly make this a very diverse community," City Councilman Thomas Crowder said.

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  • oversleeper Jun 27, 2008

    It's close to the prison?

  • hazeyc Jun 26, 2008

    I made around 80K and bought a house at $235K several years ago. It all depends upon the interest rate. My rate is below 6% and allowed me to afford the loan (10% down).

    I also work with quite a few people in the pharma industry that make what I'm making and more and they are married to spouses making that much or more. So they could easily afford the $200k, even upwards of $300k.

    But, my family does not spend a lot on stuff. So how much you can afford not only depends upon the interest rate but how much disposable income you want to spend on your lifestyle.

  • charlesboyer Jun 26, 2008

    "Your numbers lack proof. First you say 135k, then you drop it to 100k, then you say 19% and then jump to 33%. So give me some concrete numbers and then I will reevaluate my position."

    No, actually, your analytical skills are misfiring.

    I said $135K / annually would make that affordable. I also showed you numbers, with a sourced site for proof. THEY chose the demographic separator of $100 - 149K, NOT ME and listed 12% of the population.

    Then you fail to discriminate a salary earned statistic versus the median price of homes in Raleigh. Those are two VERY different number sets. Over one half of all homes in Raleigh cost $177K or higher.

    But since you want argue, try this number on for size:
    SOURCE: City of Raleigh: http://www.raleighnc.gov/publications/Planning/Demographics/Community_Profile_2007.pdf

    Average Home Sale Price………....................$305,557
    (source: ACCRA 2nd Qtr. 2007

  • Mr. Middle of the Road Jun 26, 2008

    keiott, I don't think that this is neighborhood that the mayor lives in, I think he is in Boylan Heights. But hey, I have been wrong before.

  • NCSU2004 Jun 26, 2008

    Charles Boyer

    $135,000 combined income would be more than two people with "decent" jobs.

    Most people can not afford these houses but that's not going to stop them from buying them. That's why the foreclosure rates are so high.

  • keiott Jun 26, 2008

    Got to remember, this is the neighborhood that the mayor lives in! Wonder how hard he pushed for this?

  • colliedave Jun 26, 2008

    The new homes in the 21-acre development will include architectural features that blend with the historic homes

    And the really "big house" - Central Prison - is just a few blocks away.

  • Mr. Middle of the Road Jun 26, 2008

    It is a good concept, and should add to the tax base. In town is the place to live, the suburbs will be the new ghetto.

  • NdaHghwyBldg Jun 26, 2008

    Your numbers lack proof. First you say 135k, then you drop it to 100k, then you say 19% and then jump to 33%. So give me some concrete numbers and then I will reevaluate my position.

    My family makes 100k/year. Can I afford a house over 200k? Nope, and my credit is perfect.

  • freddie cadetti 72 Jun 26, 2008

    I love the concept and will look forward to walking along the sidewalks, but with the smallests of residences (1 bedroom) at nearly $400,000.00, it's just for the upper crust.

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