Real Estate News

Former Raleigh City Manager Russell Allen now a real estate developer

Russell Allen
Russell Allen

A development group that includes Russell Allen, Raleigh’s former city manager, has filed plans to build two 5-unit condominium buildings along New Bern Avenue just east of downtown.

Since being fired by the City Council in 2013, Allen has formed a real estate investment and development company, Allen Ventures, with his twin brother Craig, who lives in Virginia Beach.

Allen, who oversaw Raleigh’s government for 12 years, said this week that the company is focusing on urban-style projects in the downtown area.

“I decided I really wanted to stay in Raleigh rather than move to another place as a city manager,” he said. “I always had great respect for what the private sector development community has done here ... always enjoyed that part of the business.”

The condo projects would be built side-by-side on the north side of New Bern Avenue, on vacant land that is between East and Swain streets. Allen Ventures acquired the land, which includes five separate parcels, in 2014.

The company is partnering with Five Horizons Development on the project. Raleigh-based Five Horizons has built a number of single-family homes in the downtown area.

Allen said the 3-story condos will each have 2 bedrooms and 2.5 bathrooms, with a single-car garage on the first floor. Pricing for the units has not been decided, but Allen said they would likely be under $400,000.

Both buildings will feature modern-style architecture.

“We think it’s going to be very modern and creative but not so much that only a handful of people would want to buy it,” Allen said.

This is the second downtown project for Allen Ventures. The company earlier bought and renovated a house in East Raleigh on Freeman Street, which it sold in January. The company hopes to begin construction of the New Bern condos this summer.

Allen said he’s purposely tried to keep a low profile in his new role given his previous role.

“I’ve tried not to be the principal out-front partner,” he said.

David Bracken: 919-829-4548, @brackendavid