Residents of the multicolored Dorothea Gardens homes near downtown’s Boylan Heights neighborhood are about to get new neighbors.
Developer CitySpace Homes is working on two projects, adding 10 new brownstone-style condominiums next to the 25 tall and skinny “folk vernacular” homes it built off Dorothea Drive. The company has also just broken ground on what will one day be a collection of 55 houses and two four-unit apartment buildings off Maywood Avenue near Trophy Brewing.
The homes are styled to look like the dwellings already in the area, and range from between $350,000 and about $1 million, said CitySpace owner Richard Johnson. They are fully customizable and tailored to younger people who are interested in living near downtown.
“We try to target underutilized lots on the edge of existing historic neighborhoods,” he said. “We want to become part of the neighborhood and part of the city. The city is one of our biggest amenities.”
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The 3-bedroom homes on the corner of Dorothea Drive and South Saunders Street will include ground-floor garages, rooftop patios and be built in two rows of five units, Johnson said. Construction on the site hasn’t begun yet on the mostly vacant lot, but there’s plenty of activity in the neighborhood.
Pricing starts in the $500,000 range and could reach near $1 million depending on the finishings, floor plans and other customization owners choose. The 0.85-acre property cost $353,500, according to property records. The land is complicated to build on because of a protected nearby stream, Johnson said.
As part of the project, CitySpace will work with the city on a stormwater pilot program that calls for the construction of bioretention areas for filtration along Dorothea Drive.
The neighborhood, which borders Western Boulevard, fell into disrepair in the 1980s and ’90s, when much of downtown struggled. But it has become desirable in recent years.
Lambert Development, a New York company, is building a 12-unit townhome project at the corner of West and Lenoir streets south of downtown. A block away, a separate 47-unit condominium project is under construction.
Johnson, who owns CitySpace with his wife, Amy Goodale, moved to Raleigh in 1994 and rented, then subsequently renovated, a house on West Hargett Street.
The pair has been renovating ever since, going from renovating homes in the Five Points and Boylan Heights neighborhoods to building entire rows of homes.
When they first started the Dorothea Gardens project, the first shotgun home that the couple renovated sold for $177,500 in 2012, Johnson said.
“Every time we talked to people, they asked us ‘could you build us something bigger, could you build something better?’ ” he said. “I think the last house in Dorothea Gardens, we sold it for $540,000. And if I sold it today, it would be in the six hundred thousands.”
The historic-looking homes will soon begin popping up in CitySpace’s other development – next to the renovated Caraleigh Mills condominium building. The property is near the intersection of Lake Wheeler Road and Maywood Avenue, across the street from popular “Big Trophy” owned by Trophy Brewing Company.
The development, dubbed Caraleigh Commons, will be built on about about 5 acres of the 16-acre site, Johnson said. The rest of the land will be preserved as a natural area.
He purchased the entire 16-acre parcel for about $1.3 million.
CitySpace has already sold about 10 of the lots and has begun construction on four homes. The first 47 homes will be built over the next four years and range in size from about 1,200 square feet to 2,750, and will be priced between $350,000 and $750,000, he said.
The company also plans to build two four-unit apartment buildings at Caraleigh and will later turn its attention to a second phase of eight homes.
Johnson said that because the homes’ designs blend in with the existing neighborhood and are customized by the homeowners themselves, he believes that they will be enjoyed by families long into the future.
“When we make an investment in design,” he said, “it pays off.”