An old warehouse in downtown Raleigh could soon become the home of a charter school, a grocery store or rental housing.
Members of a City Council committee have asked that staff release a request for proposal (RFP) for the Stone’s Warehouse property, located on East Davie Street near East Street.
The city owns the property, which means the RFP can reflect exactly how the city wants the site to be developed. City staff estimate the RFP will be released in June.
The RFP will be sent to the seven firms that responded to a Request for Expressions of Interest issued by the city in January. During the Expressions of Interest process, each firm proposed ideas for the site, but in a less detailed and formal manner than required by an RFP.
At Tuesday’s Budget and Economic Development Committee meeting, city planning staff asked for direction about what should be included in the RFP.
“How clear we are with our intentions with the uses that we want on the site is important to get good responses back,” said City Planner Grant Meacci.
Councilors used the ideas proposed by the firms to guide their discussion, focusing on historic preservation, affordable housing and community uses.
The ideas suggested by the seven firms during the Expressions of Interest process include a proposal for residential units, but Meacci observed that only one of the potential projects included affordable housing.
“Personally, I’m a big fan of mixed income,” said Councilor Thomas Crowder.
Councilor Eugene Weeks echoed Crowder’s statements, adding that the neighborhood has called for affordable housing in this area.
While affordable housing wouldn’t be a requirement, Councilors agreed to give more weight to proposals that include affordable housing.
Councilors also agreed that the Stone’s Warehouse structure should be a prominent feature of the project, but will not stipulate its retention in the RFP.
“I think we’re all in agreement to keeping the structure,” said Mayor Nancy McFarlane.
Only one of the Expressions of Interest ideas suggested tearing down the building; the rest of the ideas call for reusing all or part of the structure.
The major question is the future location of the Rex Healthcare facility, which leases a building on the site. Weeks said the community expressed the desire to keep Rex in the area.
One of the suggested ideas includes a plan to continue Rex’s lease, while another firm offered to assist Rex is finding a new location in the area.