Midtown Raleigh News

Raleigh will sell lots to Habitat for Humanity, private developer

City council members have granted initial approval to sell six residential lots east of downtown to Habitat for Humanity and a private developer.

Habitat and RD Construction Company were the only two organizations that submitted proposals for the site at Martin and Haywood streets. Each will get three of the lots for $24,000 each. The city’s community development department purchased the property nearly a decade ago and razed several blighted homes.

Project manager Shawn McNamara said the city decided not to choose one developer over the other.

“We thought the best thing to do would be to split the difference,” he said. “That would achieve some income mixing.”

The city will require the houses to be sold only to low- or moderate-income buyers for under $170,000. The builders must use energy-efficient materials, and the designs have to be approved by the State Historic Preservation Office and the Raleigh Historic Development Commission.

“The two developers agreed to work together to make it all blend,” McNamara said.

Each developer will have a different target buyer. Habitat sells to homeowners making less than 60 percent of the area median income. RD Construction’s buyers can hit 80 percent of the median income.

Southeast Raleigh Councilman Eugene Weeks praised the plan, saying it represents “thinking outside the box and getting two groups to work together.”

The Martin/Haywood project is the latest redevelopment effort for the city in and around Southeast Raleigh. The poster child for the initiative is the Cooke Street development north of New Bern Avenue, which has transformed a drug-infested crime zone into a destination for young families.

Next, the community development department will turn south, where it’s spending $550,000 to buy and demolish a rundown apartment complex on Sawyer Road. Once enough adjacent lots become city-owned, developers will be sought.

The city council will hold a final vote on the Martin/Haywood project Sept. 3. If it passes, home construction will take place next year.