People drive by the swath of land on Blue Ridge Road, just off Wade Avenue and across from the N.C. Museum of Art in Raleigh, and wonder: Why isn’t there more to this? Why is this property just sitting here?
Those are good questions and ones the McCrory administration asked as part of Project Phoenix, an overall look at state-owned property with an eye toward making more of it and gaining some economic benefit for the state. There’s nothing inherently wrong, of course, with the state hanging on to land it owns and doing nothing, with an eye on “what ifs” for the future.
But this 43-acre property looks to be in a place that could bring a positive return for the state. So the administration is looking for a developer to create a mix of residential, office and some retail on the property, with a 99-year lease. That seems like forever, but it isn’t. The state at the end of that time would have the option of doing something else with the land.
Younger folks moving to the area are not so wedded to the roving, suburban lifestyles of earlier generations. They don’t mind living and working in the same area, and many, particularly those who have come from larger cities, are perfectly OK with not owning a car. The Blue Ridge property, with the additional benefit of being near the state’s spectacular art museum, would seem to be a choice spot, potentially, for those types of residents.
Project Phoenix needs to advance carefully. Not all property is a candidate for development. But in this case, it seems a promising idea is moving forward.