By The Raleigh Telegram
RALEIGH – The Raleigh City Council is going to be holding a public hearing next month to accept public input to allow a vacant warehouse owned by the city to be turned into living and working spaces for artists by a private developer. The large brick warehouse is known locally as Stone’s Warehouse and is located at the intersection of East Street and Davie Street in downtown Raleigh.
“The rezoning would permit the city-owned block to be redeveloped with an apartment complex geared towards artists and entrepreneurs with lower than area median incomes,” said the city in a statement.
A joint public hearing of the City Council and Planning Commission to discuss the rezoning will be held on February 5th in the city council chambers in Raleigh.
The building has been vacant for years and in past city council meetings, Raleigh Mayor Nancy McFarlane has stated that she supports the proposal. If the property is approved, the city would lease the property to to the Landmark Group run by Vann Jones. In addition, the group could also apply for tax credits to develop the property.
“Our regular process has produced a blighted, empty shell and it’s been sitting there for 30 years,” said Mayor McFarlane in a meeting on the issue in December. “Sometimes opportunities present themselves and you need to consider them.”
Other council members at that same meeting in December said they are concerned that the property will simply become low income housing and that the city should not be giving away property.
“I’m really concerned about just giving it away for $1,” said council member Mary Ann Baldwin.
“We have a cockeyed optimism that we’re not going to have folks who just need affordable housing,” said council member Randy Stagner. “We don’t know at this point if the concept will work.”
In December, the Raleigh City Council voted 6-2 to continue working with the Vann Joines and the Landmark Group to come up with a proposed lease and rezoning plan for the project.
The city says if approved, the complex would provide 61 different living, and working spaces as well as community areas for tenants. The city purchased the property in 2001.
A similar property called The Golden Belt was developed in Durham years ago. Using an unoccupied old brick industrial building near the downtown area, the facility now has living and working spaces for artists as well as meeting and display spaces.
Article Posted: Thursday, January 3rd, 2013.