Local News

Suburbia Has Nothing on Downtown, More Families Find

Posted October 11, 2007 6:20 p.m. EDT
Updated October 11, 2007 9:32 p.m. EDT

— High-rise condominiums aren't the only housing option in downtown Raleigh. About 4,300 single-family homes are around downtown, and hundreds more are under construction in three developments.

"Everything we want is down here," said Penny Lawrence, who lives with her husband and daughter in the Village at Pilot Mill. "It's like a small town down here."

The neighborhood off Halifax Street north of Peace Street provides $500,000 homes with lush landscaping, similar to many subdivisions in north Raleigh and Cary.

"I think there's a good 40 or 50 restaurants we can walk to from our house, so I'll give up a yard for that," Lawrence said.

Nearly all of the 100 homes in the 2-year-old Pilot Mill development have been sold, and city planners said living downtown with children is becoming an easier sell as the area develops.

"We do see a lot of families moving in the Oakwood area, (off) New Bern (Avenue), and now we're seeing (more) around East Street as well," Raleigh Planning Director Mitchell Silver said.

More than 160 single-family homes are under construction near Chavis Park, and plans are moving along for 500 units in Blount Street Commons. Silver said three other single-family home developments near downtown are in the preliminary planning stages.

"We want to have not just young professionals, we want to have families downtown because they tend to stay in downtown for a long period of time," said David Diaz, president and chief executive of the Downtown Raleigh Alliance.

The growing number of families also opens the door to more economic development downtown, Diaz said.

"Whether (it's) a grocery store, hardware store, pharmacy – these things are important to families, and they have to be within walking distance," he said.