Development Beat: Teardown Tuesday

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Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Since the beginning of 2016, there’s been nearly 100 single-family home demolition permits issued, and that’s not counting town homes, duplexes or jobs where the work was described incorrectly.

It’s why we don’t generally report on them in our weekly Teardown Tuesday feature, although that may have been a mistake on our part.

Thanks to the City’s new permit database, we were able to pick up on three separate clusters of recent single-family demolition permits. This is more noteworthy: nine times out of ten when someone tears down a single-family house, it’s so they can build a bigger, nicer one on the same spot. But tearing down three adjoining homes on the same street? That could be a sign of something more interesting to come.

As is often the case with theories posited in this column, this one turned out to be mostly incorrect. Let’s break down these soon-to-be broken down clusters and see why.

The first group was the oddest: three homes at 7701, 7705 and 7709 Ray Road, all owned by different people, are all being torn down by the same contractor, Vaughn Utilities for $6,000 a pop. There don’t appear to have been any site plans ore rezoning cases filed for the area, and if there were some future development planned, it wouldn’t really make sense for the demolition to proceed before the new owner purchases the land.

One of the Ray Road homes. I can't imagine why someone would want this torn down!

One of the Ray Road homes. I can’t imagine why someone would want this torn down!

While there have been plenty of cases where owners will tear down an existing structure in order to make the property more desirable for sale, and plenty of cases where the property owner and the property’s future developer are not the same entity, but that doesn’t appear to be what’s happening here. Maybe all the homeowners took some kind of weird adult version of those teenage suicide pacts where they all agreed to demo their houses at the same time, but who knows. We imagine the future of this site holds nothing more exciting than some new, pricey, single-family homes.

The next cluster is over on St. Mary’s Street, right behind the 425 Boylan Development. The two homes at 416 and 418 St. Mary’s Street were both built in 1920 and remodeled over the years. On February 3, 2016 a company by the name of A Squared LLC purchased both of the properties.

A Squared is a developer behind a number of planned residential communities, many of them in West Raleigh, including one along Western Boulevard. A LinkedIn profile for one of the LLC’s partners describes his work there as “Developing west Raleigh to its full potential. Analyzing potential acquisitions and developments utilizing construction estimating experience.”

Best guess for these St. Mary’s properties is that they’ll be torn down and replaced with newer, pricier homes. Although I can’t imagine someone wanting so badly to live in the shadow of a big apartment complex like 425 that they’d go the trouble of tearing down and building a new home behind one, we do hear over and over how tight Raleigh’s housing market is, so it’s very possible.

A shot of one of the St. Mary's homes from when 425 Boylan was under construction

Wake County

A shot of one of the St. Mary’s homes from when 425 Boylan was under construction

Build Raleigh, LLC is handling this project and, like the first batch of residential teardowns, both of these demos are listed on the permits as costing $6,000.

The final residential demolition cluster project for today comes the closest to proving our initial theory correct: three homes on Price Street are connected to a rezoning case! Except that rezoning case was filed in 2013 and denied the following year. On top of that, the only thing the rezoning case would likely have brought about was more single-family homes. Boring.

The three houses at 639, 645 and 651 Price Street set for demolition are all owned by the Roman Catholic Diocese of Raleigh, and back up to a large swath of land, also owned by the Diocese, that was in 2013 the subject of rezoning case Z-28-13.

Janezic Building Group will be handling all three demolitions.

We won’t delve too deep into its plans, seeing as how they never came to fruition, but it would have rezoned the wooded lot off Ray Road near the intersection with Strickland from Residential Rural to Residential-2, nearly doubling the amount of homes allowed on the property.

 

The case itself was denied because it would have increased density to unacceptable levels within the Falls Lake Watershed. Interestingly enough, it appears that way back in 1993, there was another plan for the site titled “Cardinal Gibbons High School.” Cardinal Gibbons, which recently celebrated 100 years in Raleigh, has an interesting timeline set up on their website; the 1989-1999 section begins by discussing plans to expand the school, although nothing ever came of the Price Street site.

The failed rezoning case

The failed rezoning case

2 thoughts on “Development Beat: Teardown Tuesday

  1. The St. Mary’s street properties are already gone. I was in the area over Memorial Day weekend visiting friends and was surprised to see the empty lots.

  2. A trend I’ve noticed is that by the time the demolition permits are approved and issued, the property owners have already had the jobs scheduled and typically move very quickly to avoid any protestation from the public. Especially in the case of historic buildings.