Downtown Raleigh neighbors predict growing pains with rezoning

Downtown Raleigh neighbors predict growing pains with rezoning (Image 1)

An explosion of new apartments in downtown Raleigh has some long-time neighbors feeling growing pains.

The City of Raleigh said Friday there are nearly 2,000 new apartments set to open downtown in 2015 alone in areas like Moore Square, Fayetteville Street and Glenwood South.

The 300-apartment Skyhouse Raleigh building at Blount and Martin streets opened in April.

Overlooking downtown from the building’s 23rd story rooftop terrace, leasing consultant Daniel McCormick said there’s a pent up demand for housing in the city’s center.

“Sure you can live out in the country and have a 3,000-square foot house, but it’s not always necessary and people are moving from other cities where they’re used to this type of lifestyle,” McCormick said.

The City is trying to spur more of that kind of growth just to the west.

At Hillsborough and Dawson streets, a city-owned parking lot was just rezoned to allow for a possible 20-story building with retail on the bottom floor.

Some neighbors who live at The Dawson condos next door, said 20 stories is much taller than what has traditionally been allowed in that western portion of downtown.

Homeowners association member Jon Kolkin said it would set a precedent that would change the character of his neighborhood and increase traffic.

“The city’s comprehensive plan emphasizes the importance of uniformity of height and tapering of building heights with the tallest buildings being located in Raleigh’s central corridor,” Kolkin said.

Planning Director Ken Bowers said the precedent was set decades ago with a 19-story hotel on Hillsborough Street, directly across from the rezoned parking lot.

“You do have a 19-story hotel across the street and the council has approved site plans in the recent past for buildings in excess of 30 stories on the same site,” Bowers said.

Kolkin countered that a building erected 50-years ago does not necessarily set a precedent for what should be happening now.

So far, no developers have announced plans for the parking lot.

Copyright 2015 WNCN. All rights reserved.

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