The Chicago-based apartment developer that recently built a new community just east of downtown has acquired land directly across from Moore Square.
Banner Apartments paid $1.1 million for a .21-acre site at the corner of Person and Martin streets, according to Wake County property records. The site at 227 S. Person is home to Killo Pest Control.
Banner acquired the property under the entity Moore Square Apartments LLC. A Banner executive didn’t return a call Wednesday about the company’s plans for the site.
The city of Raleigh owns much of the rest of the block directly east of Moore Square, and has been marketing it to private developers. The city’s economic development director, James Sauls, didn’t return a call seeking comment on the status of that effort.
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The city acquired its land, which covers about 2.6 acres, for $5.83 million in two separate transactions in 2013. It includes the former Salvation Army property.
The acquisitions were part of the city’s effort to spur redevelopment around Moore Square, which until now has not experienced the level of interest from developers as other parts of downtown.
The city created a master plan to renovate the 4-acre park in 2011, and the City Council voted in 2014 to borrow $12.6 million to fund the project.
Over the past 18 months development activity around Moore Square has picked up considerably.
SkyHouse Raleigh, a 23-story luxury apartment building, opened in April across from City Market on the southwest corner of Martin and Blount streets. In July, Banner opened The Lincoln, a 224-unit apartment complex that is on a 2-acre block bordered by Hargett, Martin, Bloodworth and East streets.
A local developer, Hyde Street Holdings, also recently rezoned a 1-acre tract of land directly north of The Lincoln. The developer is planning to build 19 row houses on the site, which is now mostly used as a surface parking lot.
The price Banner paid for the Killo Pest Control site is the latest example of how quickly land prices in downtown Raleigh are spiraling upward. The seller, Henry Wall, paid just $95,000 for the site in 1995, according to property records.
Wall’s father-in-law, Walter Killough, founded Killo Pest Control and Wall took over the business in the late 1960s. He now runs it with his two sons.
The company has been looking to relocate for several years but has not been able to find a suitable location. Wall put a sign on his building last year saying the property was for sale after being inundated with calls from real estate brokers.
“I decided I didn’t need a broker,” Wall, 88, said. “I’m sitting in a choice spot in downtown.”
Wall said his agreement with Banner stipulates that the business can remain in the same place for up to 18 months and not pay any rent. By then Wall and his sons expect to have found a new location for the business.
“It’s a darn good deal,” he said.