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Homeowners Paying Close Attention To Future Of Dix Campus

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RALEIGH, N.C. — As a plan is developed for the Dorothea Dix hospital campus, some nearby homeowners hope to see their values follow a similar path.

There is not a concrete plan for the Dorothea Dix Hospital campus when it closes in 2008, but that did not discourage Curtis and Cindy Cook from moving to Boylan Heights.

"I think we want to be part of a community that's on the way up," he said.

The couple's new home is in the shadows of Dix. They think whatever happens to the 300-acre property will help their neighborhood.

Neil Gustafson, a property appraiser, believes property values may not increase dramatically if most of the land stays a park because there will not be additional momentum, but he said there is a lot of potential for additional worth if the campus becomes a mixed-use development with a park, offices and some high-end housing.

"Just having the activity there I think begets more activity and those sorts of uses could spill over into adjacent neighborhoods where you could really see the increase in property value," he said.

Despite the possibilities for Dix, city planners said there has been no real push by developers to buy up surrounding property. They said that could change as a plan for Dix takes shape. Gustufson said the area on the edge of downtown Raleigh has not been a hot area of the city, but now he sees a lot of potential.

The Urban Land Institute recently studied the Dix property and proposed a plan that includes a 215-acre park, offices, condominiums and single-family homes. The commission studying the future of Dix hopes to bring a plan to state lawmakers in January.