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ChiefJoJo

Glen Lennox redevelopment in E. Chapel Hill

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This article discusses the potential redevelopment of the Glen Lennox neighborhood and shopping center in the northeast corner of Raleigh Rd (NC 54) & Fordham Blvd (US 15/501). The article says most buildings will be residential and between 2 and 5 stories. This is also close to the East 54 project just to the southeast along 54 towards Meadowmont, and near the future Chapel Hill to Durham (LRT or BRT) transit corridor.

Here is the site of the existing commercial space and apartments behind NC 54, owned by Grubb Properties, the developer of this project.

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^ This would be a good place for redevelopment-that property has been in decay for years minus Jujube and Bin54. Maybe this and East54 will push the town to reconfigure the overpass where 54 becomes Fordham Blvd.

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I lived in Glen Lennox last year. The buildings are fairly old, dating from the immediate prewar period (1948-1949). The shopping center is, I believe, contemporary to that time frame as well. The era in which it was built dictates that nothing has the same level of detail as a 1920s craftsman bungalow, so the architecture doesn't pop out at you as beautiful, and at first glance. The buildings kind of look like shacks, but at second glance they are very solid and have a lot of charm in their own right. Beautiful old hardwood floors, plaster interior walls, brick and wood exterior. I certainly wouldn't say that it's run-down. The shopping center and the apartments are actually quite well kept-up.

I'd be sad to see it go, but I also realize it's inevitable. Especially the shopping center, it's really nothing special. But do they really have to tear down the whole neighborhood?

The trees are amazing, but I'm concerned that if they just keep the existing street grid, they will have no choice but to build what (essentially) amounts to towers-in-a-park. And speaking of 'park,' I'm afraid of how they would handle parking in the neighborhood. The present arrangement of mostly on-street parking is just barely enough for the number of units, so unless they do something to restrict the number of spaces per unit, we may end up with more parking lots.

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Orulz, this sounds exactly like Whitaker park apartments in Raleigh. Why not just fix them up into 120k a piece condos....it worked with the cottages on Bernard Street near Whitaker Park. Such a price point is also hard to find in Chapel Hill. With the price of everything going up everywhere (can you say devalued dollar?), saving practically everything currently on the ground is just about the most feasible thing, unless the scales are so vastly different that demo costs are easily swallowed...

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Orulz, this sounds exactly like Whitaker park apartments in Raleigh. Why not just fix them up into 120k a piece condos....it worked with the cottages on Bernard Street near Whitaker Park. Such a price point is also hard to find in Chapel Hill. With the price of everything going up everywhere (can you say devalued dollar?), saving practically everything currently on the ground is just about the most feasible thing, unless the scales are so vastly different that demo costs are easily swallowed...

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While I agree with you completely, I see this as just another developer that is looking to make the most profit possible for himself, rather than truly offer a better product to the community, much like the South Saunders development. Why settle for decent profits when you can have millions in profits by letting a property languish enough to the point where the surrounding community is ready for it to go, and it makes more sense to tear it down and replace it with luxury units.

Grubb is the same developer that owns Country Club Apartments in Raleigh and plans to tear them down to build a luxury retirement community in their place. Kick out the middle class to make room for the wealthy, even though they could probably just as easily renovate them and do like Whitaker Park (which I have seen a few of those on the MLS lately and they are going for about $150k currently).

While I understand a developer wanting to make a profit on his/her property, people should be outraged when they start waging a class war by removing affordable housing in favor of a homogeneous community that excludes the people who once lived there altogether.

I know, I know, it's capitalism, but it still stinks! :rolleyes:

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While I understand a developer wanting to make a profit on his/her property, people should be outraged when they start waging a class war by removing affordable housing in favor of a homogeneous community that excludes the people who once lived there altogether.

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Just a clarifying statement.....Whitaker Park apartments are all town down and were replaced with houses starting at 700k. Some of the nearby Northside Apartments were turned into what I think are called the Cottages on Bernard and those were selling around 120k back around 2002 when they were converted. Two side by side examples of the different paths Glwn Lennox could take.

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I'm sympathetic to losing some affordability in Chapel Hill, but also consider there is pent up demand for hosing close into town. The town has a defacto growth boundary that limits development on the fringes, so there only so many good development sites, and I think this one is a good candidate being close to two highways and within a 1/4 to 1/2 mile from the future transit line. Chapel Hill may require a certain percentage of affordable units and I think they have an ordinance to that effect. I'd agree with Dana that Grubb is a developer with a pretty good track record... Elizabeth in Charlotte, CAM, Glenwood/Oberlin. Not perfect, but one of the good guys I think.

Question: If you wouldn't allow redevelopment here, near the town's two major highways, existing CHT/TTA bus lines and future high capacity transit corridor, where do you allow it?

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Orulz, this sounds exactly like Whitaker park apartments in Raleigh. Why not just fix them up into 120k a piece condos....it worked with the cottages on Bernard Street near Whitaker Park. Such a price point is also hard to find in Chapel Hill. With the price of everything going up everywhere (can you say devalued dollar?), saving practically everything currently on the ground is just about the most feasible thing, unless the scales are so vastly different that demo costs are easily swallowed...

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Because the existing 'cottages' are in terrible structural condition. Most of them required massive foundation repairs 10 years ago. They're in worse shape now.

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Because the existing 'cottages' are in terrible structural condition. Most of them required massive foundation repairs 10 years ago. They're in worse shape now.

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How much could those repairs run 10k per house? I don't think that increase in price would have discouraged many buyers. it probably presented a good chance to modernize the HVAC and floor insulation too. I am not sure what shape they are in now or if its systematic of buildings of that period....does anyone have pics of Glwn Lennox?

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The work wasn't done 10 years ago because it was cost prohibitive. $10k wouldn't have touched it then, much less nowadays.

The cottages were thrown up as temporary housing after WWII. They weren't intended to last. Based on the poor quality of the initial construction, the degradation of the structures over time, and the inherent inefficiencies of the current buildings, tearing them down is certainly the most responsible solution.

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I'll ask you again; are you talking about Whitaker Park or Glen Lennox (or both?) when you say this?

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Grubb is looking at ways to keep existing residents in the new development, ie, the ones who have lived there for 5 or more years.

Grubb Properties has not yet submitted a concept plan to the town.

Right now, the plans include approximately 35 single-family lots, 350 apartments, 400 condominiums and 100 townhouses. Plans also show there could be retail, restaurant and office space, as well as three parking decks. There could be a grocery store, drugstore and movie theater. It could possibly include a seven- to nine-story hotel.

Developers would build in four phases. They estimate that, if approved and everything goes smoothly, they wouldn't break ground for the first phase for three years.

Still several years away.

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^That's encouraging, we'll have to see how it works out. It still is kind of screwing any professionals who moved in <5 years ago who might have been planning to stay there for some time, but I guess we are lucky to see any consideration for these people at all.

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lip service. These people settled here in part because of the character of the area which is about to change drastically.

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The cottages were thrown up as temporary housing after WWII. They weren't intended to last. Based on the poor quality of the initial construction, the degradation of the structures over time, and the inherent inefficiencies of the current buildings, tearing them down is certainly the most responsible solution.

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While I'm not against density, there is already a new mixed use development going up across from Glen Lennox--East 54. Add that to Meadowmont and all the other mixed use developments planned for Chapel Hill in the next few years and soon that is all there will be.

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While I'm not against density, there is already a new mixed use development going up across from Glen Lennox--East 54. Add that to Meadowmont and all the other mixed use developments planned for Chapel Hill in the next few years and soon that is all there will be.

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Forgot to post this last week, but the N&O did another story on the challenges of growth in Chapel Hill.

Roger Perry--developer of Meadowmont and East 54, among others-- said this:

"What is always troubling to people in my business is people who are not rational and not interested in building consensus and not willing to understand practical realities," Perry said.

"Chapel Hill has been changing and evolving for 215 years," he said. "You can't counter someone's emotion because that's their personal attitude, but the fact of the matter is that things do change. There are things that are worth preserving, and there are things that aren't worth preserving. It's highly interpretive and individual."

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