Apartment developer buys land in Raleigh's Blount Street Commons project

dbracken@newsobserver.comSeptember 30, 2013 

— The lead developer behind the Blount Street Commons project just north of downtown has sold a 2-acre tract along Wilmington Street to a South Carolina apartment developer.

Charleston-based Greystar Real Estate Partners paid just over $4.7 million for the property at the corner of Wilmington and Polk streets, according to Wake County property records. The site is just south of the headquarters building for the North Carolina chapter of American Institute of Architects.

Greystar acquired the land from LNR Property, which bought 12 acres from the state in 2007 and 2008 for its Blount Street Commons project.

LNR was picked by the state in 2005 to redevelop parking lots and offices covering blocks bounded by Peace Street to the north, Lane Street to the south, Person Street to the east and Wilmington Street to the west. Original plans called for up to 495 condominiums, townhouses and single-family homes, up to 110,000 square feet of shops and 25 renovated homes, some of them historic.

But the project, which began ramping up just as the real estate market was entering a prolonged slump, has been mired by delays and scaled back significantly.

Late last year, LNR informed the state that it would not purchase the remaining nine acres where the final two phases of Blount Street Commons were to be built. LNR paid a $1 million fee to get out of the contract.

LNR has sold a half-dozen historic homes that are part of Blount Street Commons. Construction has also begun on Peace Street Townes, a 17-unit town house project that White Oak Properties is building at the corner of Peace and Person streets.

LNR still owns six other parcels within Blount Street Commons that encompass about two acres. In April, LNR was acquired by Starwood Property Trust and Starwood Capital Group for $1.06 billion.

A Greystar executive did not return a call seeking comment Monday. But the Greystar entity that acquired the land — Elan Raleigh Property LLC — hints that the project will be one of the company’s Elan communities that tout their proximity to shopping, restaurants and job centers.

Greystar’s Elan communities include the Artisan at Brightleaf apartments in Durham. Greystar manages more than 200,000 apartment units nationwide, according to its website. It also has a development arm that has developed more than $500 million in projects since the company’s founding in 1993.

Greystar joins a growing list of apartment developers looking to build new projects in and around downtown Raleigh. A total of 1,103 apartment units are now under construction in the downtown area, according to Karnes Research and the Triangle Apartment Association. Those units are all in Glenwood South or Cameron Village.

An additional 1,874 units have been proposed, including several projects in downtown Raleigh.

Bracken: 919-829-4548; Twitter: @brackendavid

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