Local Politics

Raleigh City Council passes rezoning proposal for Downtown South

Posted December 15, 2020 11:44 p.m. EST
Updated December 16, 2020 12:09 p.m. EST

— During a specially-called meeting on Tuesday, the Raleigh City Council passed a rezoning proposal for the proposed Downtown South development in south Raleigh.

Developers say the $2 billion project would bring jobs, amenities, businesses and a sports and entertainment stadium to the area.

Community members for and against Downtown South's rezoning proposal expressed excitement and concern during Tuesday's meeting.

"One of my biggest fights here in Raleigh is gentrification, gentrification I've seen displace people. So, that's one of my major concerns," said Wanda Gilbert-Coker.

"A project of this type in that area will continue to cause housing costs to skyrocket, continuing to price so many people out. The concern is where are they going to go," said Chalice Overy, the associate pastor at Pullen Memorial Baptist Church.

In June 2019, Kane Realty and the owner of the North Carolina FC and North Carolina Courage professional soccer teams proposed a mixed-use development to include housing, restaurants, hotels and a 20,000-seat soccer stadium.

The project would create a mixed-use area at the intersection of South Saunders Street, South Wilmington Street and Interstate 40.

"This part of town needs a grocery store, needs a pharmacy, it needs parks and amenities that would come with the projects like this," said Jennifer Truman.

The Raleigh planning commission voted unanimously against the rezoning request, citing that it's unreasonable for the public in its current form.

Mayor Mary-Ann Baldwin says that vote was intentional, in order to bump the decision to the City Council.

"This has been discussed a lot," she said. "The planning commission held seven meetings. Some of those meetings lasted two to four hours. This is a moment that really is about the future of Raleigh ... we are going to hold the development team accountable. We expect some great things. We want to see great things. And we’re counting on all of you to work together as a team with our community to make it happen.“

While some strongly oppose the project, others say the development is just what the community needs to ensure success for future generations.

"The problem with southeast Raleigh right now is not the affordable housing, it's not the displacement, it's not the gentrification. The problem with southeast Raleigh is and always has been we don't own anything," said LeVelle Morton, with Raleigh Raised Development.

The City Council has another special meeting scheduled for Thursday.

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