Development to Preserve Historic Raleigh Homes
Posted August 7, 2007 7:32 p.m. EDT
Updated August 7, 2007 9:12 p.m. EDT
Raleigh, N.C. — Developers and the state government are close to signing on the line for a major project that would preserve historic homes along Blount Street.
The state is selling the Victorian homes it owns along Blount Street, just north of the Governor's Mansion.
Those houses, which the state uses for offices, will be restored as single-family homes by LNR Properties under the $20 million deal.
The Blount Street district, which is listed in the National Register of Historic Places, was Raleigh's premier address during its heyday.
The neighborhood flourished from the Civil War until the early 1900s, and the state bought homes in the 1960s for a development project that never happened.
"We want to try and reconnect pieces that have been separated for decades," Doug Redford, a senior project manager with LNR, said.
The 21-acre tract being bought by LNR also contains several empty parking lots. The site is bounded by Peace Street on the north, Lane Street on the south, Person Street on the east and Wilmington Street on the west.
LNR said it plans to move eight outlying homes onto those parking lots.
"It's a hole in the middle of this area of downtown. The 1,374 parking spaces that are there are not a good use of that space," Redford said.
The space opened by the relocation of the homes will be used for further development, Redford said.
That development could be crucial in creating a thriving community along Blount Street, David Diaz, president of the Downtown Raleigh Alliance, said.
"As we have more and more residents moving to downtown and to this area as part of the Blount Street development, you always need a center in a center that provides the daily services that these people need," Diaz said.
LNR's development along Blount Street will respect the history of the neighborhood, Redford said.
"There's value to those historic homes. There's value to the context of those homes there," Redford said.
"And it's important to give that context its own place, and then to build around it and reflect architecturally that historic heritage," he said.