High-rises planned for fringe of Dix Park

15December 2021

— Developers from Raleigh and New York have teamed up on a project that will bring two high-rise, mixed-use buildings to the edge of the planned Dix Park, south of downtown Raleigh.

Raleigh-based SLI Capital and Mack Real Estate Group, out of New York, recently bought several parcels, totaling 7.5 acres, along Hammell Drive, between South Saunders Street and Lake Wheeler Road, for nearly $35 million, according to Wake County property records.

Dix Park project

“There is over $3 billion, if you count Downtown South, of real estate investment going around Dix Park, which I think says a lot about the opportunity that people want to live near this incredible amenity,” Janet Cowell, president and chief executive of Dix Park Conservancy, said Wednesday.

The nonprofit conservancy is helping Raleigh officials plan the development of the 300-acre public park.

“We have talked about trying to do setbacks so it’s not an immediate skyscraper right up next to the park,” Cowell said. “We think the scale of the street and wanting it to feel like a safe, intimate, friendly streetscape is important, and we’ve also talked about things like parking.”

Dix Park Plaza and Play design unveiled

Migel Saldana already lives near the park, but the new development will force him out.

“I’m getting pushed out from where I’m at,” said Saldana, who lives along Lake Wheeler Road. “It was good location, and it really was affordable.”

Developers took control of the property he rents months ago and shifted his lease to a month-to-month arrangement, he said.

The developers still need to go through Raleigh’s site review process, which typically takes a year and includes design approvals, before anything breaks ground. But Saldana said he knows his days in his home are numbered.

“I don’t think it’s going to be affordable,” he said of the proposed project which are expected to include hundreds of residential units.

Dix Park

“My heart is with folks who are most directly impacted,” said Raleigh City Councilman Patrick Buffkin, who voted along with the rest of the council to rezone the property and allow development of up to 20 stories.

Keeping housing affordable as Raleigh continues to boom with development is a priority, Buffkin said.

“Increasing supply by itself probably won’t bring prices down, but it will slow the increase,” he said.

Office and commercial projects are expected on the site later, and the developers must make improvements to Lake Wheeler Road as part of the project, including installing curbs and gutters, medians and walkways.

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