Historic Homes Should Be Saved After Council Approves Land Sale

Old homes along West Street, planned for demolition.

Old homes along West Street, planned for demolition.

The two houses in the photo above should be saved after all. The city council last week approved the sale of city-owned land along Bloodworth Street to become the new home for these two houses. March 19 was the demolition date for them so this comes quite a bit close but hopefully, with this approval, everything goes smoothly.

The houses were planned to be demolished to make way for The Fairweather, a five-story condo project. A Raleigh citizen pitched a plan to move the houses into the Prince Hall Historic district, the site of the city-owned parcels, but the land sale had to be approved by council. At first try in December 2017, it was not approved.

For a detailed review of the story, jump back to this December 2017 post.

The city council video of the discussion is embedded below. I’m going to leave the politics for the comments or a future reader meetup but you can really see some council members struggling with this one, almost intentionally avoiding trying to make a decision. As I said in my previous post, creative problem-solving seems to feel like a foreign language sometimes to the council.

For the record, Councilors Crowder and Thompson voted against. My huge thanks to our Mayor who brought up this issue and got the discussion rolling.

If you can’t see the embedded video, watch it here on YouTube.

Comments

Thank you Leo
Sometimes government can work…
I really do wonder why you would vote against or not be in favor of this type of project? Or why council members couldn’t come up with these types of solutions themselves?

Looks like construction will start soon on chavis park. I had no clue there was so much planned for it. Should be really nice.

In short, the members who were against seemed to feel uncomfortable with the process of unloading city-owned property to a single entity rather than putting that property out for bid for everyone in order to get the most value for it.

It’s not necessarily that they are against historic preservation but rather want to see city-owned assets be sold in a way that shows no bias. Whether there is bias or not is up for discussion.

Small victories are something at least. In the meantime, Maiden Lane and the adjoining 100 year old houses (15 total I think) were demolished this last week. An entire National Register historic district, poof, gone.

@Mark – and for some garbage mega-block apartment building with ZERO active street presence, no less. Infuriating.

I thought they were supposed to get demolished last summer… What happened?

Honestly, you have to let some parts of Raleigh grow unrestricted vertically and prioritize what really is significant to keep. Poorly thought-out city of Raleigh council decisions are the reason why Raleigh is known as Sprawleigh. ‘You can’t build here, this run-down neighborhood near downtown Raleigh is ‘historic’, find a lot 10 miles away and build something near nothing nor close to public transportation’. I mean look at North Hills and Crabtree. There’s absolutely no way to build an above surface transportation system to DTR without demolishing miles well-established neighborhoods and yet here we are building two disconnected skylines now that Kane is building 32 story towers in North Hills.

We will all be dead by then but when the time comes for Raleigh to build an advance transportation system future planners will all be shaking their heads to why a planned city seems to be not planned at all.

@Fran I thought you were joking about the 32-story North Hills tower so I Googled it and…well…let’s just say that’s not how I would have done things in North Hills. Wow.

Plan to attend the next Dix park public meeting on March 22nd – more info here:
https://www.raleighnc.gov/parks/news/content/CorNews/Articles/PRecDorotheaDixParkSecondMeeting.html

We had a workgroup meeting last night to discuss transportation challenges, bike/ped challenges, natural ecosystems and landscaping, and urban agriculture. Lots of exciting ideas on the table. One very cool proposition is to reroute Rocky Branch to its original location, a meandering creek through closer to the interior of the park, creating room for expansion of western boulevard to provide BRT with a dedicated station at Dix. Regardless of your stance on parks, Dix is the largest project happening DTR right now and the largest urban park project in the nation. They are thinking huge, like landbridge across western to access pullen park, huge. So get involved!

@Kevin Why? North Hills is growing rapidly, and the demand is there. I hope they build even taller. the plot next to the new 32 story tower should be 35-40, same with the JC Penny location once they move out. That should be 30 too.

The big difference b/w North Hills and DRT (IMO) is easy access to the highway. Love it or hate it, we are an autocentric society. Dense office buildings sitting right beside a freeway interchange makes easy commuting for workers in those buildings vs the stop and go to get into/out of DRT. My company (500+ employees) is looking to relocate and combine our two local offices into one location, and North Hills has been mentioned several times as a potential location for the move. While I would personally prefer to be in DTR, with so many commuters (and the threat of having to pay for parking DT) North Hills sounds pretty good to a lot of us.

@Nick,

DTR is only a mile away from the I40 exit on Wilmington Blvd and that area is under development consideration called the Southern Gateway that why increase traffic capacity, bus rapid transit, likely several new parking structures.

As far as North Hills goes, traffic is already a hassle on Six Forks, I can’t imagine triple the amount of workers clogging that intersection during rush hour–in the future traffic will be continuous from 6 AM to 8 PM given similar areas in other cities.

@ Nick
Just to be clear, you/your company thinks that it won’t have to pay for parking in NH’s? Unless you’re just shopping st NH’s any company will pay for parking in a garage (attached to the building or not) whether in NH’s or downtown Raleigh!

Companies don’t pay for parking in North Hills towers

@Robert and Dave, Parking will be paid by the tenant at North Hills and any other office building. Parking rights are negotiated into a lease and the costs of parking are included in that rate. Just because you might not pay on a daily basis, it doesn’t mean it’s free parking. There’s no such thing as free parking anywhere. Someone and/or everyone is paying for it somehow. Garage parking in particular is expensive, and it’s usually only pursued as an option when land costs become so expensive that using it for surface parking no longer makes sense.

Evan, dangit, I missed the meeting somehow…I’m on the buildings committee.
RE North Hills access vs downtown, focusing on just the interstate is fatal. There is no street grid in NH. It’s two points (east and west) each with a primary arterial being shared (Six Forks) and a secondary road (Lassiter for the west, St Albans, east). The mixed use layout only mitigates this a little bit. Downtown has multiple arterial roads coming in and out and an array of alternates in most directions. Your company better look closely.
Jake, RE Maiden Lane and Hillsborough St, the City lost sight of its big picture…it’s game plan. All of the planning in the 90’s and early 2000’s was about antenuating the student ghetto effects of concentrating students near residential areas. So what’s happening? 10x as many students are being stuffed in. When these, now new, students apartments are inevitably sold off at peak price, returns will be improved by gradually reducing maintenance and oversight by second rate management companies. Give it 20 years, and things will look a lot less shiny. In 50, it could be full scale shitsville. NC State or the City should have straight up bought some of these properties and renovated according to their vision. Velvet Cloak as dorms ala Mission Valley. NC Equipment Co as classroom building. Maiden, sold back off as the expensive mansions they were born as, clean and picturesque. I suggest a right of first refusal to purchase in certain cases such as historic status or proximity to certain things like the Capital or University. Funny how my whole giant comment, is underpinned by failures in planning…

To clarify my point about parking… If parking was included as part of the leasing agreement at NH, we the peons wouldn’t pay for it out of pocket… If we went DT, as several of our offices in other cities, the cost of parking would come out of the pockets of the individual employees rather than the company picking up the bill. (I know many peers in other cities that had to suddenly start eating monthly parking costs due to office moves.)
You won’t find a bigger advocate for mass transit than me… but in the city we live in, mass transit is a joke, so like it or not, we are stuck with cars until we have better options. And unfortunately, we have to stash all the cars somewhere. I would prefer a parking deck to a surface lot (like we have at our current building). Nothing like a suburban office building surrounded by a sea of asphalt to inspire creativity of the workers.

@ Nick
Don’t mean to belabor the point…but…
I think it says more about your company then where they are located. As I personally know companies downtown that provide parking to its employees (no direct cost to the employees) in the parking deck that’s included in the cost for the office space…just saying! Some companies do and some don’t. ;-)

Got some update information today ! FNBTower should start in 1 to 2 months ! 400 H is working on Financing ! Smokey Hollow has all permits !

Good news Dwight! Wonder what keeps delaying FNB

@Jeff,

You do realize this is Raleigh, right? It sucks all construction activities into development limbo aided by the ‘village’ council of hamlet of ye olde Raleighville.

There’s probably more cancelled projects in DTR than projects that have been realized in the past 15 years. Bless Amazon’s heart if it comes here unless they partner with Kane.

The city will roll over for Amazon. If you want an example of that happening, look on youtube for Steve Jobs’ presentation to the Cupertino city council for their now realized spaceship/donut HQ that was just opened.

@Nick So if mass transit is a joke in this area, you don’t build a 32-story tower, whether it be residential or office, in an area of the city that does not have plans for high-capacity transit expansion (transit expansion which, by the way, was approved by voters). You build it in an area where the transit infrastructure IS being expanded…downtown. This is a case of the left hand not knowing (or caring) what the right hand is doing. I think North Hills can handle 10-15 story buildings just fine, but any more than that and 440/Six Forks is going to become a parking lot in short order.

Y’all – this blog is so great for all the really good discussion. I think there are ample opportunities to connect North Hills and DTR much better with dedicated/BRT transit infrastructure via the highway > capital blvd. Especially as Capital Blvd slowly transitions to a slightly less autocentric corridor (with NCDOT bridge projects come some significant improvements to ped/bike infrastructure along corridor adjacent to DT), this provides some great opportunities to rethink and augment our transit corridors to better connect both centers.

Fran, all the dead projects were proposed on spec, and when no leases(or condo sales as was the case sometimes) materialize, the drawings get shelved. Kane is the only developer we have in downtown proper that can build purely on spec. And I think banks still only provide something less than 100% financing even with leases in hand by a developer, so they all have to come up with some private equity, and those guys definitely want leases secured or condos sold in advance of risking their money.
Nick, I think you gotta press the company for a parking allowance. Then the folks that can find a way to avoid parking decks get to keep the allowance. Perfect incentive to get people on the buses or biking (or living downtown)

Looks like we lost the bigger house of the two here. (already demolished) The smaller one will be moved on May 20. The reason? Not sure yet but it’s probably a combination of factors such as the new site not being ready for it, paperwork, and probably the council dragging their feet on a decision.

The smaller house was the better one at least…angled spindle porch brackets, pressed tin shingles….I’ve been counting and there are perhaps 20 houses with those brackets left in Raleigh. They probably represent a certain builder from the period (1905-ish). Now if the Hicks Mansion could somehow manage to skate to survival, it’d only be a 95% loss (not kidding, about 2/40 saved is all) of what was on the current chopping block from our tiny historic inventory.

A new N&O story with updated info on MLS stadium…

http://www.newsobserver.com/sports/article210847274.html

@ Stew , I canceled my N&O subscription & I could not pull up
this article on line . Would you post this info. about this article ? Thanks Stew !

Also , Permits have been done for Two Glenwood Hotel !

Hi Dwight. Sure. I can’t say the article was all that enlightening but here it goes. In a nutshell Malik thinks Raleigh will win bid if stadium can be built. He says all options for funding are now on the table including public/private partnership. Previously he had vowed all funding would be private (save infrastructure improvements).

He plans to work quickly with primary election winners. Commissioner John Burns primary loss hurts the cause (he was a stadium supporter).

He wants more events held at the stadium (besides soccer) which has energized the conversation. WakeMed Soccer Park will remain in use even if new stadium is built.

This is the bulk of it Dwight. Hope this helps.

Thanks a lot Stew ! You are a good man ! Mr. Malik is really saying the same thing that The Raleigh Group is saying ! A Sports Complex that will have Shaw Football , Soccer ,Track , & Possibility Minor League Baseball ! Actually the baseball idea has
energized this project to attract a stronger group team !

@Dwight, where would this baseball group be looking to put a potential sports complex?

@ Mike , That is what is so confidential ! They are looking at two locations & I only know one of the locations ! I’m am sorry for this , but I can’t say ! I will say that The Group does have a strong political strength in Raleigh , which is what excites me very much !

@ John532 , You are welcome !

This article shared nothing new whatsoever. Not even sure why they ran it.

Thanks, @Dwight! I love the enthusiasm. I will say though, the Atlantic league doesn’t excite me at all.

@ Mike ! You are welcome ! This really is not a done deal Mike . You might have already done this . Google their home page . 40% of the league players have playing time in MLB . It is a AA Level League ! The League is 21 years old & the 8 teams in the league all averaged 3,900+ fans a game last season . Thanks Mike for your comment !

I have been looking for that infamous 35-mile rule that allegedly precludes bringing a minor league team to downtown Raleigh but can’t find it. I did however come across the Official Professional Baseball rulebook which addresses territorial rights. For those interested in this issue you can review rule 52 and also attachment 52.

As best I can find Wake County is supposed to be shared with the team in the Carolina (A) league. This would be the Mudcats, right? If anyone can point to a definitive source explaining why the Mudcats can’t move to downtown Raleigh I’d like to see it. Thanks.

https://registration.mlbpa.org/pdf/MajorLeagueRules.pdf

The history section of the Five County Stadium wiki should clear things up a bit:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Five_County_Stadium

Although now that they are an A league team, those rules shouldn’t apply to them anymore.

TBJ – “10-story apartment complex pitched for Glenwood Ave”

Just adding more to the Sterling site out by Crabtree. 250 more units. My screen grab cut off some of the article but it looks like want it closer to Glenwood than currently allowed…?

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