More Info on Peace Street Townes, Person Street Plaza and More....

posted Aug 7, 2012, 11:56 AM by Philip Bernard

By David Bracken -

By David Bracken The News and Observer

Local developer White Oak Properties unveiled plans this week to build 18 townhomes in the Blount Street Commons project north of downtown Raleigh.

The project, called Peace Street Townes, would be built on a .6-acre parcel at the southwest corner of Blount and Person streets, directly across from the Krispy Kreme store.

Blount Street Commons’ developer, LNR Property of Florida, also announced this week that it has sold the historic Lewis Smith house at 515 N. Blount Street to Hobby Properties, which plans to renovate the property and make it the company’s office.

Blount Street Commons is a six-block, 21-acre project that calls for as many as 495 condominiums, townhouses and single family homes just north of the governor’s mansion. The project also includes 25 historic homes, five of which LNR has sold .Blount Street Commons has been delayed by the slumping housing market, and thus far only a handful of homes have been built. LNR sold the Peace Street Townes site in 2008 to Blount Associates LLC for $1.76 million. White Oak now has the property under contract.

The developer hopes to close and begin construction this fall if sales meet expectations, said Roland Gammon, White Oak’s owner. The townhomes will priced at $299,999 and under with the largest units being 1,400 to 1,500 square feet.Gammon said the units will be urban in style, with some featuring rooftop patios.

Peace Street Townes would be adjacent to the site where Vanguard Homes built a handful of units before going out of business. Live Oak Homes, the homebuilding arm of local developer GreenHawk, acquired Vanguard’s remaining land and unsold units out of bankruptcy.

Hobby Properties’ offices are currently near Crabtree Valley Mall. John Holmes, a vice president with Hobby, said the four-person firm hopes to relocate early next year. Hobby’s hired the Raleigh architecture firm Clearscapes to help it renovate the Lewis Smith House, which was built in the 1850s and is on the National List of Historic Places.“We’re working with Clearscapes to come up with an interesting preservation plan for the house and get a pretty cool office out of it,” Holmes said.

Hobby has been active in the downtown area. The company owns the shuttered Person Street Plaza retail center and the adjacent land where an urban farm, called Raleigh City Farm, now operates. Hobby hopes to get approval from the city this week for its plans to turn the 15,500-square-foot Person Street Plaza into five to seven retail spaces. Escazu Artisan Chocolates and the Market Restaurant are among the tenants who plan to lease space in the center.

Holmes said if the city approves the company’s plans, tenants could begin moving in this fall.