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Residents upset over university housing development

Some residents say they are against a new student multi-use development on Stanhope, near the N.C. State University Towers.

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RALEIGH, N.C. — A multi-use development project got the green light Tuesday from the Raleigh City Council despite complaints from residents.

Mary and Tom Hennessy say the price of progress along Hillsborough Street could cost them their quiet way of life. They are against a new student housing development on Stanhope, near the N.C. State University Towers.

“It's a neighborhood where people know each other and take care of each other. It's a real neighborhood,” Mary Hennessy said.

Capstone's Stanhope Center is planned for Stanhope Avenue and Concord Street between Friendly Drive and Rosemary Street. Plans call for a 102-foot-tall building with 167 four-bedroom units, 40 three-bedroom units and 70 two-bedroom units.

The project will also include 8,235 square feet of office space, 1,520 square feet of retail space and a 787-space parking deck.

“We want a safe, vibrant, economically sustaining front door to the campus and this is the best way to achieve it,” said Ralph Recchie, N.C. State's director of real estate.

The Hennessys and other neighbors say they are not opposed to development. However, they are concerned about the magnitude of the Stanhope Center, along with the parking.

The Hennessys have fought against the development for over a year. The parking deck is scheduled to rise next to their house.

“If you put a parking deck there, you eliminate residential,” Tom Hennessy said.

For its part, the city says the developer has made concessions.

“They've dropped the deck to two levels closer to the residents on Stanhope. They have also looked at the possibility of wrapping it (the parking deck). Right now, it's going to be wrapped with office. They would like the developer to consider residential and they agreed to do that," Raleigh Planning Director Mitchell Silver said.

For the Hennessys, their fight to maintain the quality of life in their West Raleigh neighborhood isn't over.

“We're going to keep asking questions,” Mary Hennessy said.

The city says the developer is still in the process of getting financing for the more than $80 million project.

The company's goal is to have the development ready to rent to N.C. State students by the fall of 2010.