Yesterday the News & Observer ran an article about a plan to juice up a city block on the near southeast side of downtown Raleigh. Just 25 years ago this area of town was bustling with business – but it bustles no more. There are only a handful of small businesses remaining around the block in question. The article intrigued me so I drove out, walked around and took a couple of pictures.
The property in focus is a group of brick structures known as Stone’s Warehouse. It’s anchored at one end by Rex Senior Health Care Center (not shown in any of these photos). The other buildings are empty and unattended. It’s not clear, but there’s also some vacant land which may be included. The City of Raleigh purchased the property in 2001 and has been studying redevelopment options. This week a potential buyer requested the City sell the property at its tax value. The buyer, in return, would provide neighborhood-oriented residential and retail development.
Mayor Meeker said the proposed real estate deal is complicated and will be sent to committee.
East and Southeast Raleigh have been receiving increased attention from moneyed players and urban pioneers (both residential and commercial). These folks rightly see value in this part of town. It provides less expensive entry to the downtown Raleigh party than that provided from the North and West. You can see in the photo that Stone’s Warehouse is easy walking distance from downtown.
East and Southeast Raleigh deserve attention. In the process, let’s work to promote thoughtful and appropriate redevelopment decisions. These neighborhoods have interesting history and have been home to generations of Raleighites. I’m not focusing specifically on Stone’s Warehouse. I admit knowing very little about this particular property. Though it has some interesting features which make it easy to draw parallels with other warehouse reclamation projects, I don’t know enough to say it deserves special attention or is appropriate for adaptive reuse. I just want to use this general opportunity to encourage sensitive redevelopment. Redevelopment that weaves the past into the present and the future. Use the bulldozers wisely. A city needs its memories.