Thursday, December 20, 2007

And in this corner...

From the News & Observer

Pam Woodyard:
Oct 12, 2007
Like fine wine, homes should age well

Never before have I lived in an expanding area like North Raleigh. Even after six years here I am still thrilled and almost overwhelmed by all the development -- especially the residential development. ...

As I looked out the windows of a million-dollar home, it occurred to me that the homes of my childhood were older homes even for 30 years ago. Parade of Homes properties are new homes that are built to look like older homes on the outside.

I began to wonder, with all the new construction in Raleigh, what happens to our existing neighborhoods. In North Hills and other sections of the city, homes are being razed and replaced by new, larger properties featuring open floor plans. Sometimes this is tastefully done and in other instances taste is not part of the equation.

This columnist writes for the North Raleigh News, making it hard for Fallonia to be a regular reader. Written during the Parade of Homes, the columnist ponders the teardown and buildup trend, and offers some commentary on the issue. As a fan of "high-end" homes, she recently found herself looking out the window at the neighborhood beyond the house. "[T]o raze and replace changes the character of a neighborhood," notes Woodyard.

Her newcomer status shows in this quote: "Did you ever wonder how some neighborhoods become historic like Oakwood? Who allows them to age gracefully while other neighborhoods become worn down or torn down? " Could it be because of the craftsmanship of that era, she wonders. "According to [Sarah] Susanka's book, '...when a well crafted object ages, no matter what it is, society almost always helps it to age well.'"

Oakwood was pretty far down on its luck when it was plucked from the bulldozer jaws. The rest is history, as they say. As I watch the new wave of neighborhood teardowns, solid nicely-sized homes being bought to get a good address for huge 5-star resort-style homes, I think it is more than that. In Oakwood, there was potential and opportunity. In the parts of town that are at a similar age-span to Oakwood at that time, the prices are exorbitant, and the opportunity is for catching the wave while it is high. This puts the value of the home purely into the economic equation.

To a person, the new neighbor will speak of loving the the character of the old neighborhood. That does not change for them, as their windows still yield the same view, for now. The older residents don't see it quite like that anymore.

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