CARY, N.C. (WNCN) — The future of Cary could impact its past.
Downtown business owners are hoping a proposed development will be a major boost to the area, but a home that dates back to the town’s birth may have to get out of the way.
The town’s historic preservation commission toured the Ivey-Ellington House on Chatham Street Wednesday.
The house may have to be relocated to make way for a $51 million mixed-use development that would include apartments along with office and retail space.
The project has been proposed by Northwoods Associates, LLC, and would require a $5 million investment by the Town of Cary for parking and infrastructure improvements.
Supporters of the project say it could be key in transforming the downtown area, while others are concerned about the impact on the historic house, which is one of two sites downtown on the National Register of Historic Places.
The Ivey-Ellington House dates back to 1870, around the time of Cary’s incorporation.
The town owns the home now. Events such as farmers markets are hosted on the property.
Ted Boyd, the town’s downtown development manager, shared a couple images with CBS North Carolina of the concept for the development. A final design hasn’t been completed yet.
“I think people in Cary really, really have wanted to have excitement downtown and have pride in their downtown,” said Elizabeth Sullivan, owner of Elizabeth’s Home and Garden Shop, which is next door to the Ivey-Ellington House. “It’s growth that is inevitable.”
Anne Kratzer, who is with the Friends of the Page-Walker Hotel, has been urging the town council to support development plans that would leave the house where it is.
“So, if you take a house and put it someplace else, you’ll probably lose its National Register status,” said Kratzer. “It would be a loss just to take it from this area, which is the oldest commercial area in downtown Cary.”
Susan Moran, public information director for the town of Cary, noted about 83 percent of available land in the town already has been developed, and the town is focusing more on redevelopment of existing properties.
She noted there’s about $1.1. million in the proposed budget for next year to “shore up” historic properties.
The town council will have to sign off on the proposed project, but it’s not clear how soon that could happen.