With downtown awash in new luxury apartment construction, Stanley Martin Homes sees an opportunity in offering would-be renters an alternative.
The private Virginia homebuilder is moving ahead with plans to construct 46 condominium units in the long-delayed Blount Street Commons project just north of downtown.
The company, which acquired just under 2 acres in the development about a year ago, has begun site work and construction of several model units.
“It’s going to be very interesting over the next 12 to 18 months as all these apartments come online,” said George Weller, Stanley Martin’s director of operations for its Raleigh office. “... There are certainly a lot of apartments, but as far as opportunities to own, we think there’s a void right now and that we can help fill that.
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“We really feel like our timing feels pretty good there,” Weller added, noting that nearby Seaboard Station retail center is thriving and the Person Street corridor is now home to a growing number of popular retail and restaurants. “It offers a nice kind of alternative to people that want something that’s walkable downtown.”
Stanley Martin is the third homebuilder to take over the section of the Blount Street project where 16 brick row homes and carriage units were planned.
Vanguard Homes built a handful of units before going out of business. Live Oak Homes, the homebuilding arm of local developer GreenHawk, acquired Vanguard’s remaining land and unsold units out of bankruptcy.
In September 2013, Stanley Martin paid $1.12 million to Live Oak for the 14 remaining lots. Weller said the row houses will be priced from the $350,000s to the low $400,000s, while the carriage units will be priced from the upper $300,000s to the low $400,000s.
Stanley Martin acquired its other parcel in October 2013 from LNR Property, the master developer of Blount Street Commons that bought 12 acres from the state in 2007 and 2008. Stanley Martin paid $1.296 million to acquire LNR’s parcel fronting Person Street.
The site is approved for 40 condos but Stanley Martin only plans to build 32. The section will feature four four-story condo buildings.
The condos will retail from $270,00 for the lower units and the low $300,000s for the upper units. Weller said construction should begin in early December on both model units and some pre-sales.
Stanley Homes units are going up directly south of where White Oak Properties is now constructing 18 town house units in a project called Peace Street Townes.
The site is also just east of where Greystar Real Estate Partners is building Elan City Center, a 213-unit apartment complex scheduled to open in the spring.
Weller said although Stanley Martin has been actively selling the units for months, the turning of dirt has made would-be buyers more willing to commit.
“We tell people we’re really going to do this project, but now that we’ve actually started construction we’ve seen a significant increase in interest,” he said.