Development Beat: Teardown Tuesday

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Tuesday, October 18, 2016

An eight-unit apartment complex built in 1983 and located off Litchford Road near Millbrook High School in North Raleigh will soon be no more.

These apartments will soon be no more

Wake County

These apartments will soon be gone

On Thursday, October 13, popular demolition contractor Taylor’d Lumber received $23,000 in permits for the teardown of the 7,808 square foot garden-style apartment building at 6132 Johnsdale Road.

The complex was first acquired by Korean War veteran and local multifamily developer Alvin G. Moore in 1979. The Moore family owned the land through 2013, when it was sold to Litchford Properties, a subsidiary of Dewitt Carolinas. Dewitt has developed a number of projects since its inception in 1992, including a number of Baskin Robbins and a wide range of apartment complexes.

In addition to the apartments at 6132 Johnsdale, Litchford Properties/Dewitt also snapped up much of the surrounding land, which will allow them to develop a much larger multifamily project on the land.

Tentatively titled the Litchford Road Apartments, the complex will max out at three stories, although a rezoning application filed last year indicates that a maximum of 22 units/per acre will be allowed to be built on the 13.47 acre property, a significant increase over the currently allowed 4.45 units per acre.

A map of the surrounding area

A map of the surrounding area

While this would technically allow for nearly 296 units, we don’t imagine Dewitt plans to build quite so dense a development. For starters, where would all those people park?

Neither the rezoning application nor a case filed with the Board of Adjustment get very deep in the weeds about the details of the new complex: beyond a three-story cap and a low-resolution site plan drawing, most of the text on the respective applications deals with specific zoning regulations under the relatively new Unified Development Ordinance. Pretty boring stuff.

Fortunately, we were able to find a more recently filed site review plan that proved our theory: Dewitt won’t be building 296 units, just a mere 240! The breakdown in units is as follows: 72 one-bedrooms, 120 two-bedrooms and 48 three-bedroom. Assuming a lowball estimate of one person per bedroom, this allows for a total of 456 residents.

The complex will max out at a total gross square footage of 137,751 and include as amenities both a clubhouse & a pool. We’re going to make a prediction right now: it will be a saltwater pool. Trust us.

The site review plan contained a higher-resolution site plan drawing

The site review plan contained a higher-resolution site plan drawing

Beyond a basic layout and the details we provided above, there wasn’t much else — save the types of trees that will be planted on the property — about the new complex, so from an aesthetic standpoint, we don’t have a great idea what this place will look like.

The best way then, we figured, to get an idea of what the Litchford Road Apartments (hopefully just a placeholder name) will be like was to take a look at some of Dewitt’s past work.

The company’s most recent local project appears to be The Franklin, a 4 story, 200 unit luxury apartment complex in Cary, North Carolina. As it happens, this job was built on some land right off Jones Franklin Road that essentially backed up to the office complex I used to work in.

The Franklin

The Franklin

I was having nightmares about the additional traffic the complex would create on the already overcrowded Jones Franklin Road, but fortunately I was laid off from that job before people moved into The Franklin. Talk about your lucky breaks!

It’s a nice-looking place though, and seems to have near-unanimously good reviews on several apartment rating sites. Its amenities include “individual garages, a yoga studio, a pool and a clubhouse” and, according to Dewitt ” provides a fun, maintenance free lifestyle.”

The Franklin has some pretty positive reviews on Facebook

The Franklin has some pretty positive reviews on Facebook

Considering we already know Litchford Road will have at least two of those amenities, we imagine Dewitt will likely try to create another complex that offers its residents a “fun, maintenance-free lifestyle.”

Side note: does maintenance-free mean the maintenance is done free of charge by Dewitt, or that the units themselves will require no maintenance over their entire life span? The latter sounds much more appealing, but we’re not sure how that will work.

Also: one of the other parcels that will soon be swallowed up by the Litchford Road Apartments, a 1,644 SF duplex at 2513 Sylvia Dean Street that was built in 1954, also saw its death notice signed last week in the form of a demolition permit. The work on this one will also be handled by Taylor’d Lumber, although for a much lower cost of $4,500.

This duplex is also being torn down to make way for the Litchford Road Apartments

This duplex is also being torn down to make way for the Litchford Road Apartments

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