An apartment complex near N.C. State University could be replaced by luxury apartments designed to appeal to college students, but some residents are worried the new building would be too tall.
Phoenix Property Company, a Dallas-based developer, wants to rezone and redevelop the Carolyn Apartments, which feature one and two stories at the intersection of Avent Ferry Road and Varsity Drive.
The new complex, which could be five stories tall, likely would include more than 200 units, with a mix of one-, two- and four-bedroom apartments.
“We believe this is an ideal location for a student-oriented residential development,” said Lacy Reaves, a lawyer for the developer, when he presented the proposal to Raleigh’s planning commission earlier this year.
Reaves said the proximity to the N.C. State campus and shopping centers would encourage residents to walk and bike. The apartments are near other multi-family developments, so the new complex would fit into the neighborhood well, he said.
The possible redevelopment continues a trend on nearby Hillsborough Street, where new apartment complexes geared toward students are replacing older buildings.
On Hillsborough, the apartments typically replace brick storefronts that have been home to bars and eateries for decades.
The city’s planning commission unanimously approved the proposed rezoning of Carolyn Apartments in September. The local citizens advisory council, the West CAC, opposed it by a vote of 12 to 0.
A public hearing on the proposal is scheduled for 7 p.m. Tuesday in the Raleigh City Council chambers at 222 W. Hargett St. The council will have the final say on the project.
Benson Kirkman, co-chairman of the West CAC, said one of the biggest concerns for residents is the potential height of the building.
The developers have asked for a five-story building, which is the maximum allowed on the site by city regulations.
They’ve indicated the building will have two stories of parking and four of apartments. One parking layer would be at the basement level and not count against the limit, Reaves said.
Kirkman said the plan should be considered a six-story building because of how it likely would sit on the land. He thinks it wouldn’t fit with the vision in the city’s Comprehensive Plan.
“It ought to be more than a guide,” he said of the plan. “It shouldn’t be this consistent pattern that anything that comes in close to the university should be allowed to exceed the limit.”
City staff has ruled the proposal consistent with the Comprehensive Plan. The rezoning process does not yet require the developers to have submitted a site plan that will show the exact design of the building.
City Councilman Russ Stephenson said the redevelopment and how the building is situated along the road could affect projects beyond the Carolyn Apartments.
“This is really not a precedent just for Avent Ferry Road,” he said. “It’s probably a precedent for many of our thoroughfares around the city.”