JULY 25, 2007
Building Blount Street Commons
Linking one of Raleigh’s oldest districts to the new downtown
BY ZACK SMITH
540 N. Blount St. in downtown Raleigh has seen better days. A thin layer of black dirt covers the outside, and if you want an invitation inside, you probably shouldn’t touch the broken plastic button that was once a doorbell.
The inside boasts some ugly blue carpeting, fluorescent lights and a water fountain from the days when the state government used it as a headquarters for investigating white-collar crimes.
“There were guys with nightsticks and 9 mms on their hips wandering around,” muses Doug Redford, a senior project manager with LNR Property Corp.’s commercial property group. “Why did you need a 9 mm to investigate white-collar crime, anyway?”
Photo by James Preiss
The North Blount Street historic district contains some of Raleigh’s oldest and most historically important homes—most of which have been turned into state offices. Now, a redevelopment plan called Blount Street Commons could turn them back into homes and help transform the district into one of downtown’s most upscale neighborhoods.