|Raleigh invests in art spaces|
With an ever growing community of artists that calls downtown Raleigh home, many say the community needs developers and city planners to help manage the growth and tap the artistic potential that Raleigh holds. With the Stone's Warehouse Project, local artists on a small budget may be given the opportunity to live, work and create in the downtown Raleigh area.
City councilors have officially approved a 99-year ground lease with the Historic Preservation Foundation of North Carolina for the redevelopment of Stone's Warehouse on East Davie and South East streets.
"It was a little bit different than how we normally do projects like this, but they had a vision for doing affordable housing geared towards accommodating artists and the artisan community," Elizabeth Alley, an employee in the Department of City Planning, said.
The team that came up with the plan is made up of the Landmark Asset Services, an affordable housing provider in North Carolina, and Van Joines, a Chapel Hill native who wanted to do something in the Raleigh area. The team approached the city in
mid-November about its plans to develop affordable housing for local artists.
"Southeast Raleigh has a rich heritage of artists, artisans and craftspeople that weren't necessarily being directly accommodated. It was a nice way to weave into the history of the community," Alley said.
The group intends to preserve all three warehouse buildings. The central building of the warehouse is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The main building is intended to be a loft area serving as an entrance. Developers also plan to add to the two side buildings and start adaptations to change the building from an industrial site to a residential site. Forty-nine units in total will be built for residential use, six of which are handicapped-accessible.
The location provides the opportunity to have great access to open space like parks. Plans are also in the works to provide common spaces such as a gym, pool and computer room. The spaces will also be geared toward artists by providing a community room that can double as a gallery for artists during First Friday events. The Artspace gallery is only three blocks away.
Rex Healthcare has a health clinic on site that is about 5,000 square feet. That clinic will remain available to the tenants of the apartments.
Any income-restricted citizen of Raleigh can apply to live in these units, including many students. This project could potentially become a great opportunity for students who want to show their artwork to the local community.
The rezoning proposal went to public hearing on Feb. 5. The project has moved on to the planning commission to continue the development process. Once the project receives the tax credits from the state government, the developers will begin moving quickly to get the project underway.
(The Technician, 2/19/2013)