Local News

New Downtown Raleigh Condos To Have Family-Friendly Feel

Posted August 11, 2005 6:46 a.m. EDT

— The skyline of downtown Raleigh has changed dramatically over the last few years with new residential buildings popping up in between office buildings. Most of the downtown condominiums, however, do not necessarily cater to families. That could change with a new real estate project on the horizon.

"We will have some green space here," says downtown Realtor Ann-Cabell Baum Andersen.

She is talking about the site of the original Wake County Courthouse built in 1771. That is where construction will begin early next year for 94 new condominiums ranging in size from 900 to 2,700 square feet.

Unlike others in downtown Raleigh, this project at the corner of

Hargett and Boylan streets

has built-in open space.

The developers say

Bloomsbury Estates

will have more of a residential feel. They will market the new condominiums that way.

"We are going to go more into the family-oriented magazines and hope to attract somebody looking for more of a long-term home instead of people who just want to stay for around three years," Baum Andersen said.

Right now, few families live in downtown condominiums. City leaders are focused on just getting downtown housing in place for anyone wanting to move into the downtown area.

At the same time, with suburbs exploding, the trend nationwide has families moving out of downtowns.

"I think the big problem is mostly other kids," said Dan Howe, Raleigh's assistant city manager. "Most people want to locate, if they have kids, in places where there are already other kids for theirs to play with."

Mary Jo Gellenbeck says her family stepped out of the box. She and her husband moved from the suburbs of New Jersey to Pilot Mill in downtown Raleigh about a year ago. She says that she and her twins like being close to museums and downtown schools.

Gellenbeck thinks downtown living should not be intimidating for families.

"I thought by living downtown my kids would be able to do things, as well as myself, and we would still be able to be close together," Gellenbeck said. "This was definitely new and different for us. We love it."

Howe says he does not think the high price of new condominiums downtown is deterring families, pointing out that families are moving into $800,000 and $900,000 homes in the suburbs.