RALEIGH N.C. (WNCN) – Raleigh-based developers plan to convert a block along Hillsborough Street that holds the original Char-Grill location and a 200-year-old house, into a high-rise.
But the owners of both properties said they believe the development is also in their best interests.
Wilson Blount Development is looking at what a 20-story building could bring to the corner of Hillsborough Street and Boylan Avenue.
Dozens of people showed up to the first community meeting with their thoughts, and some concerns, on changing the neighborhood.
The Elmwood house was built more than 200 years ago. Owner William Little and his family have memories there spanning a century.
“It means a great deal to me, it has for a long, long time,” Little said.
But Little said he’s concerned about the long-term preservation of the home as Raleigh’s growth booms.
“The neighborhood has changed especially in the past five to 10 years,” Little said.
Developers plan to move the home to a new location that has yet to be determined.
Regardless, Little said he wants the move to protect the house for decades to come.
“It’s also the opportunity to relocate Elmwood to where it will last for another 200 years,” Little said.
As for Char-Grill’s Co-owner, Ryon Wilder, he sees the new building as an opportunity.
“We could better serve our customers with a more upgraded facility than we have now,” Wilder said.
Developers have promised to bring Char-Grill back and make it their first tenant.
“We want to stay in downtown Raleigh,” Wilder said. “We’ve been there for 47 years and we plan on being there many, many more.”
Community activist Donna Bailey also spoke at Tuesday night’s meeting.
She said she’s concerned about what development means for living costs downtown and asked developers to consider affordable housing options.
“We are going in a really bad directrion not having any workforce, or even middle income housing. It’s all being torn down for luxury,” Bailey said. “So it’s a question of how thoughtful they are with transitioning to the neighborhood.”
Tuesday’s meeting is as early as it gets for the development process, as next steps will be to formally submit a request to the city, hold additional community meetings and move forward with concept designs.