A sold out crowd of professional women in real estate gathered on August 23rd at West Street’s newest apartment complex, The Link, to learn about the ongoing transformation of downtown Raleigh’s historic “Smokey Hollow” neighborhood.
Beth Nooe with the City of Raleigh Urban Design Center described how urban renewal projects in the 60’s and 70’s, notably the construction of US Highway 1 into downtown Raleigh, disconnected the working class area from downtown. As a result, people moved out and warehouses moved in. Now, however, the City is planning to re-establish connectivity and pedestrian-friendly streetscapes along with Devereux Meadows park to breathe new life and development opportunities into the area. Beth’s presentation highlighted maps of new bridges and road alignments, streetscape updates to Peace Street, and illustrations from Raleigh’s Downtown Plan. (Link Beth’s slide show here).
Rachel Russell, formerly of Grubb Properties, shared the challenges and opportunities of developing the Link apartments on the corner of N. West and Jones Streets. Although the project was conceptually a first-mover in the downtown apartment market, a series of site challenges led to redesigns and delayed construction for several years, causing the Link to come online with several other projects. The Link attributes it successful lease-up to fresh design, great closet space and a more urban product in the Raleigh market.
Following the presentations, participants toured a studio and one-bedroom apartment and enjoyed a networking reception in the Link’s clubhouse.