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Residents upset over university housing development

Posted October 8, 2008
Updated October 12, 2011

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— A multi-use development project got the green light Tuesday from the Raleigh City Council despite complaints from residents.

Mary and Tom Hennessy say the price of progress along Hillsborough Street could cost them their quiet way of life. They are against a new student housing development on Stanhope, near the N.C. State University Towers.

“It's a neighborhood where people know each other and take care of each other. It's a real neighborhood,” Mary Hennessy said.

Capstone's Stanhope Center is planned for Stanhope Avenue and Concord Street between Friendly Drive and Rosemary Street. Plans call for a 102-foot-tall building with 167 four-bedroom units, 40 three-bedroom units and 70 two-bedroom units.

The project will also include 8,235 square feet of office space, 1,520 square feet of retail space and a 787-space parking deck.

“We want a safe, vibrant, economically sustaining front door to the campus and this is the best way to achieve it,” said Ralph Recchie, N.C. State's director of real estate.

The Hennessys and other neighbors say they are not opposed to development. However, they are concerned about the magnitude of the Stanhope Center, along with the parking.

The Hennessys have fought against the development for over a year. The parking deck is scheduled to rise next to their house.

“If you put a parking deck there, you eliminate residential,” Tom Hennessy said.

For its part, the city says the developer has made concessions.

“They've dropped the deck to two levels closer to the residents on Stanhope. They have also looked at the possibility of wrapping it (the parking deck). Right now, it's going to be wrapped with office. They would like the developer to consider residential and they agreed to do that," Raleigh Planning Director Mitchell Silver said.

For the Hennessys, their fight to maintain the quality of life in their West Raleigh neighborhood isn't over.

“We're going to keep asking questions,” Mary Hennessy said.

The city says the developer is still in the process of getting financing for the more than $80 million project.

The company's goal is to have the development ready to rent to N.C. State students by the fall of 2010.

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  • Citizen7265 Oct 9, 2008

    Willlowsnapper stated: "jg, thats stupid thinking, alot of the houses along hillsboro were there before the college and passed down into the families"

    If there are any homes still in the original families, they are being rented to anyone desperate enough to live in the run down area. Friends of mine rented and lived in the neighborhood during the early 80s while attending NCSU. They always said only poor college students would be desperate enough to live there cause it was so run down. The project is a much needed upgrade to the university and the community.

    I just do not understand why people want to move into these neighborhoods and then complain about the university!

  • Phrostbite Oct 9, 2008

    This will be a definite improvement & hopefully will spur more redevelopment of that stretch of Hillsborough St. between Gorman & Dixie Trail...It's really run down over there. Hmm, I might have to find something to open over there after this place opens.

  • bama211 Oct 9, 2008

    To the protestors of the project: I wouldn't worry too much about this project getting built. As noted in the story, the developer is still trying to line up financing. As someone who finances projects of this magnitude, and one of the only ones left capable of doing so in the country, I can tell you, he's got a near impossible task infront of him right now. I wouldn't be interested in this project personally. Good luck raising the funds, finding a lender capable or willing to do so. Banks are out of the question "no matter how many are grouped together", and insurance companies aren't doing construction deal right now "we are, but not in student housing and not in NC". Plus, I bet the developer was hoping for approximately 80%+ loan to cost of proceeds, which AIN'T HAPPENING! The most I've seen in loan dollars, is around 70%, and the rest must be in hard-cash equity, which kills an equity investor's returns. So, don't worry protestors to the project, it's going to be a while...

  • madamwuf Oct 9, 2008

    WilloWSnapper,
    if you can find me one, i'll send them a personal apology letter.

  • WilloWSnapper Oct 9, 2008

    jg, thats stupid thinking, alot of the houses along hillsboro were there before the college and passed down into the families

  • newsReader Oct 9, 2008

    I agree with the majority of posters ... this can only improve the area. That section of Hillsborough St is dumpy and always has been (I was a student from 1977-81).

  • cherokee43v6 Oct 9, 2008

    I've been a part of the NC State community for over 20 years. The story is always the same when it comes to ANY attempt to improve the Hillsborough Street corridor.

    The long time residents complain about the 'perceived' negative impacts of any change. The area continues to degenerate and disintegrate. Customers do not feel safe walking the area after dusk. Businesses choose to not be open due to safety concerns and lack of customers. Vagrancy and crime increase spilling over into the adjoining neighborhoods creating the exact scenario that those opposing development fear.

    NIMBY's rule and stupidity once again wins the day.

  • riddick Oct 9, 2008

    I think the problem these folks have is the parking deck is going to back up to their property. This the reason why they are complaining. If it was someone else's back yard, that would be OK. Sorry, but that's something that just needs to happen. Either that or have everyone park on the street in your neighborhood because there is no parking on Hollsboro right now.

  • Mr. Iowa Oct 9, 2008

    Has there ever been an expansion, a large building, ANYTHING that has not been opposed by someone? Even if 99.9999% of the state wanted this building (which I'm sure is pretty close), the media would find that .0001% who doesn't want it and make it the headliner.

  • royalnc Oct 9, 2008

    I hate to say it, but I agree with all the other posters. That neighborhood has been a dump since I lived there as a student 20 years ago and it is hard to see this new building as anything but an improvement.

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