RALEIGH – What is old is new again in downtown Raleigh. Developers are renovating historic homes along Blount Street, and even in this struggling economy, people are buying them.
Blount Street is lined with historic homes. Naturally, some are in better condition than others.
“This was and is the grand street of Raleigh, the Blount street corridor. You have people interested in living, working, and playing here,” said real estate broker for Blount Street Commons Peter Rumsey.
The Blount Street Commons revitalization project is making that not only possible, but desirable. Most of the houses started out looking neglected and worn down after the state used them as offices. But with a little vision, hard work, and money, they have now been restored to look more like their glory days.
The Lewis Smith house just sold to a real estate development company for more than $600,000 and the new owner is expected to spend at least another $300,000 to $400,000 in continued renovations. People who buy and renovate the historic homes are eligible for federal and state tax incentives.
But those $1 million price tags nearly stalled the revitalization project a few years ago.
“This project started almost exactly the same time the economy headed south. Consequently, it's proceeded more slowly, as most development has throughout the country,” said Rumsey.
However historic homes was exactly what Gallery C owner Charlene Newsom was looking for when she wanted to move her art gallery from Ridgewood shopping center to something more elegant.
“We looked at everything from a high rise condo to other strip centers and then we felt this house was the answer. We enjoy greeting people and bringing them here as if they were coming into our home,” said Newsom.
Newsom said she has also enjoyed seeing all the other renovations and new construction up and down the street. People who buy and renovate the historic homes are eligible for federal and state tax incentives. There is also new construction in the Blount Street Commons, including townhouses, row houses, and condos.