Local News

NCCU basketball coach to bring affordable housing to historic Black neighborhood where he grew up

In the West Idlewild neighborhood, just east of downtown, there's a plot of land that was valued at $1 million, but sold for $1.

Posted Updated

Lora Lavigne
, WRAL reporter
RALEIGH, N.C. — In the West Idlewild neighborhood, just east of downtown Raleigh, a plot of land was valued at $1.45 million sold for $1.

A new subdivision will be built on 907 E. Lane St., called the Cottages of Idlewild, that is a part of Raleigh's effort to build more affordable housing in the community.

Leading the charge is LeVelle Moton, coach of North Carolina Central University's basketball team.

He was raised on the very site that he will now help develop.

“I lost so many friends in this neighborhood that succumbed to drugs and violence or are no longer here. They’re in penitentiaries because they didn’t have the proper opportunity,” Moton said.

He said that he'd never imagine he would be working to improve the neighborhood he grew up in.

"You know, if you grew up here, the No. 1 rule of living here is just survival,” he said.

The Idlewild and College Park were one of the first primarily African-American neighborhoods established in the capital city. Once what's now Saint Augustine's University was established, neighborhoods and schools were built around it, according to historians. As the economy grew in the state, Idlewild grew with it, and so did laws separating Black and white residents. The city became increasingly segregated as all-white suburbs flourished.

Issues of economic disparity have not gone away. Moton said in recent years, gentrification and rising home prices pushed many families out of the neighborhood and further into poverty.

The Raleigh City Council hopes to bring attainable housing to this neighborhood through the Raleigh Area Land Trust. The nonprofit funds development through community support.

“I want to make it not only affordable, but enhance the quality of life for people that’s here," Moton said. "So they’re just not paying rent or mortgage each month. They can live honestly and carefree."

Moton said that he struggled growing up in Idlewild.

“You don’t think about homeownership," Moton said. "You don’t think about one day possibly coming back and buying the block up.”

Now, there's a park in his home neighborhood named after him that he visits to play basketball with his son.

“I want to show kids that you can be a purveyor of hope," said Moton. "You don’t have to dribble a basketball or run a football or rap to get out of your neighborhood. You can come back and be entrepreneurs and businessmen."

Rhett Fussell, interim director of RALT, said that the nonprofit wanted to bring home ownership for a community that is lacking it.

The subdivision will have 13 unites for sale to people who make between 50 and 60% of the area's median income. Four units will be available for people who make 80% or below the area's median income. The United States Department of Housing and Urban Development says that Raleigh's five-year median income is around $88,000.
The project is estimated to cost as much as $4 million. If you are considering donating, go to the Raleigh Area Land Trust's website.


Copyright 2023 by Capitol Broadcasting Company. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.