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Older Homes Inside Beltline Making Way For New

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RALEIGH, N.C. — Inside the beltline is one of the Triangle's most desirable addresses. The problem is there is no land left and existing homes might not be everything buyers want.

"It's just like oceanfront property. It's worth a lot of money because none of it's left," realtor Laura Bromhal said.

People who want to live in old, established neighborhoods inside the beltine but in a new house are simply bulldozing the old and are building something bigger in its place.

"Teardowns" are what builder Jim Dargan does best.

"I buy old houses in nice neighborhoods. Then we take the house down and build something new," he said.

Demolishing is easy, but designing can be tricky. Sometimes new homes stand out rather than blend in. Dargan takes great pains to involve the neighborhood in the process.

"We try to pick something that sits on the lot -- not something that overpowers the lot," he said.

For example, a 2,000-square foot ranch was recently flattened to make way for a 12,000-square foot home.

"When we were looking there were not a lot of new houses in the neighborhood we wanted," resident Michelle Tanner said.

The family finally found the modern gourmet kitchen they were looking for in an old neighborhood. Tanner is sold on the idea and is selling her friends on it, too.

"I told them when you all get ready for something bigger, you just move out, tear it down and build something else," Tanner said.

Lindsay Reed has lived on Anderson Drive for 45 years. He says the changes can only help his property value, but he no longer has one of the biggest houses on the street.

"Now I may end up being the little guy on the block," Reed said.


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