Local News

Construction begins on downtown Raleigh park

Posted November 30, 2009 4:25 p.m. EST

— Mayor Charles Meeker helped break ground Monday on a park slated for the Blount Street Commons development downtown.

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

“Our continued maturation of a city is best exemplified by our commitment to green and open spaces,” Meeker said in a statement. “Parks provide a great place for the community to gather, children to play and neighbors to get to know each other.”

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 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.

Although the recession has slowed the project, David Welch, an executive with developer LNR Blount St. LLC, said home sales have increased in recent weeks.