Friday, October 5, 2007

September Over The Top Award

The September Award goes to Midtown magazine and their cover story, the Teardown Phenomenon (hmmm, I feel a phrase lift here...).

The entire story can be found here or here.

A how-to guide to turning an older stable neighborhood into a newer upscale development, one house at a time, the players and their specialties are covered here. This will help one find their own personal concierge service for this exciting opportunity, available to the select market.

There are a few warnings, this one on old growth trees, for example.

“What we have found with working with multiple builders on teardown projects is that they typically want to save some of the mature trees, especially the big Oak trees that have been there for 100 years or more,” says Jeffrey Parkhurst, certified arborist with JD Tree Pros. “The only problem with that is that most builders know how to build houses. They don’t know much about trees at all. So, they put up a small tree protection zone around the base of the tree. The only problem with that is they usually put it up way too small. The root zone of a tree is at least as far outreaching as the limbs and usually 50 percent beyond that.” Parkhurst says once the root system is damaged, a tree can start dying immediately or anywhere from two to five years later, which often leaves homeowners bewildered as to what happened to their gorgeous tree.

The solution, of course, involves having enough money to try to resolve the problem created by having enough money to create the problem in the first place.

Another timely topic, price:
Although some buyers take it upon themselves to tear down old homes and start from scratch, most of the players are builders. To meet the demand of this demographic, many are shelling out upwards of $250,000 for the lot alone. To make the numbers work, they must build big to recoup their costs. “Typically, the lot is about 20 percent of the total value of the house,” says Tom Bland, president of Preservation Homes, who currently has two homes under construction on Nottingham. “So if you buy a lot for $200,000, you’re probably going to have to put a million-dollar home on there because of the numbers. The lot will dictate the price of the house.” A decade ago, paying several hundred thousand dollars for a lot in Raleigh was largely unimaginable for most builders, but the climate of the real estate industry has changed. ...

Some builders quoted showed sensitivity for the history of the area and in the selection of homes to demolish. Others, however, see dollar signs. Few see the economic burden this shifts to the existing residents, but then again, that is how the property will get to market.
“We have seen periods of above average appreciation on existing homes in the Midtown area over the past three years based on increased demand alone. ... Whether or not this continues will depend on a strong local economy, continued growth, redevelopment and demand in the Midtown area. Based on the location, there should be heightened demand for property in this area and rebuilding should continue for the foreseeable future.”

My secret decoder ring says that Property means Lot, not my historic cared-for home. I dunno about you, but seeing my lifetime neighborhood objectified into a luxury shoppers paradise kinda turned my stomach. Embracing change is one thing, this is something else.

1 comment:

Helen Tart said...

On October 9, the residents of Raleigh have a chance to vote for candidates that will protect the character of existing neighborhoods.

Remember to turn out to vote for Russ Stephenson at-large and Nancy McFarlane District A, Rodger Koopman District B and if you chose to vote for a 2nd at-large member: Vote for me, Helen Tart. I will propose a moratorium on teardowns until the new ordinance is place or until every neighborhood that requests one is allowed to develop a Neighborhood Plan that will protect its character.

Not to be overly dramatic, but the future of Raleigh may very well be decided in three days. Please make the time to vote on Tuesday.

Helen Tart for City Council
611 Monroe Drive
Raleigh, NC 27604