Downtown’s Sir Walter Raleigh building up for sale

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – A historic Raleigh landmark that is home to more than 100 senior citizens is up for sale.

Most of the residents at the Sir Walter have lived there for years, some for even decades. They say just the thought of having to leave their home is difficult to consider.

“If I have to move from where I consider home to be, that I’m comfortable with being, it would be sort of something I wouldn’t want to do,” said resident Marvin Hicks.

Hicks has lived in the Sir Walter Raleigh since 2008.

He and many more residents like him are trying to imagine where else they would live.

“A lot of people are very concerned about where they would go if they left here, how they would get there, how much time it would take to do that,” said Hicks.

Residential Properties, the building’s management company, tells CBS North Carolina that the Sir Walter has been on the market for several months, and already has interest. The current owners bought the property back in 1978 for $850,000.

Now, according to Wake County property records, it’s worth $11.7 million.

Resident Christopher Pierce says they understand that Raleigh is in the middle of a boom.

“You can’t stand in the way of progress, no way, regardless of what it is. This is a nice building, it could be improved through renovation, and with that comes more dollars and money,” said Pierce.

However, they won’t lose their homes anytime soon.

The building is under contract with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development until 2020.

And, a new owner would have to give residents a year’s notice to vacate.

“People are going to have to move, because change is coming downtown,” said Pierce.

The Sir Walter Raleigh is also known for its role in North Carolina state government history.

“It was referred to as the third house of state government because so many movers and shakers met there,” said Tania Tully with the Raleigh Historic Development Commission.

No matter who buys the 1923 building, Tully says you shouldn’t expect to see a big change in the classic façade.

“If they want to make any changes to the exterior, they would have to get what’s called a certificate of appropriateness,” said Tully.

A certificate is basically a permit from the City of Raleigh to make alterations.

And, as far as major transformations go, the city could prevent a demolition for a year in order to find a better solution for the regal reminder of Raleigh’s history.

“It is the only remaining hotel in downtown Raleigh that was historically a hotel,” said Tully.

Tully says they don’t really have a preference for what they think the Sir Walter should be used for. They just hope that it continues to be used.

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