Triangle Business Journal Another apartment building planned for Glenwood South12/09/2011
Triangle Business Journal by Amanda Jones Hoyle - Click to view original article
Friday, December 9, 2011, 6:00am EST
RALEIGH – Blue Ridge Realty is joining the multifamily march into downtown Raleigh’s Glenwood South district with plans to build a 209-unit apartment complex called The Gramercy at the corner of Glenwood Avenue and West North Street.
It is the fourth multi-story rental property proposed within a three block radius in downtown Raleigh in the past nine months.
Joe Meir, president of Blue Ridge Realty in Raleigh, cautions that his group has multiple hurdles to overcome before it can decide whether construction of The Gramercy is viable. “All I can tell is this is what we are contemplating,” he says.
Since March, four separate development companies have submitted plans to build four apartment complexes in the Glenwood South district. Combined, they would add 745 rental units to downtown Raleigh’s inventory of apartments. That would more than double the number of apartment units in all of downtown Raleigh built since 2007.
The market’s newest existing apartment communities, 712 Tucker and Hue, added 387 units in 2009 and are mostly full, says Ann-Cabel Baum Andersen, broker in charge of The Glenwood Agency, which specializes in the sale and rental of downtown Raleigh residential properties.
"I think downtown Raleigh is grossly underserved for rental and has been for a long time," Andersen says. "But timing is everything. As long as all the projects are not all developed in the same quarter, we’ll be in great shape."
The site plan for The Gramercy, which would be located in a half block bound by North Boylan Avenue, West North Street and Glenwood Avenue, shows a seven-story building with a structured parking deck, 209 residential units and at least one retail space that would front Glenwood Avenue.
Blue Ridge Realty already owns and manages an office building at 401 Glenwood Ave. that occupies half of the proposed apartment site. Blue Ridge was a partner with Trammell Crow Residential in the construction of the 222 Glenwood residential condo and retail building that opened in 2008.
Pointe Development Co. of Bay Harbor Islands, Fla., owns a church that sits on property occupying the other half of the Gramercy site. Pointe, along with a group of Raleigh developers, had in 2007 proposed to build an 84,000-square-foot office and residential building on the site, but that project never broke ground.
The JDavis Architects firm in Raleigh is working on either landscape planning or building design plans for three of the four proposed Glenwood South apartment projects, including The Gramercy. JDavis founder Jeff Davis says multifamily projects in the Triangle, as well as in Texas, Tennessee, South Carolina and the Washington, D.C., area make up about 60 percent of the firm’s current work.
"We’ve hired a considerable number of people since last spring," Davis says, estimating the firm has added 15 employees in 2011, upping its staff to 40 people in Raleigh and to seven people at a Philadelphia office. The firm is still smaller than it was at its peak in 2008, he says, but demand for multifamily development in particular is driving growth in commercial real estate.
"There’s just a lot of energy being put in the design of all these projects," Davis says. "We are really being challenged to do our best work. Design sells more than it ever has."
Construction of the $21 million St. Mary’s Square apartment community will likely be the first to break ground. Northwood Ravin of Charlotte has already secured approval from the city and financing, sources says.
Southern Land Co. of Franklin, Tenn., with the financial backing of J.P. Morgan Investment Management, has also secured city approval for its apartment project at 425 N. Boylan Ave., which is slated to have 250 units.
Harrington Street Partners LLC of Raleigh, which is led by Cary developer Gregg Sandreuter, is seeking permission from the city to build up to 153 apartment units for a project at 413 N. Harrington St. that is adjacent to the West condominium development that Sandreuter also developed.