Raleigh’s elected leaders want greater protections for the historic Seaboard train station before giving developers the green light to build up to 20 stories.
“The overarching concerns, still, is the conditions just don’t seem to go far enough to save the station,” City Council member Corey Branch said Tuesday night. “So we really need you to go back and look at conditions and see how much farther we can go to save the station or give the public an option to save the station.”
The council agreed to hold the rezoning case open for two weeks to give New York-based developers Turnbridge Equities time to submit new conditions that would better guarantee the preservation of the historic train station.
The 80-year-old station is home to Logan’s Garden Shop and does not have a local or national historic designation. That means it could be demolished at any time.
Turnbridge’s original plan to demolish the station was met with uproar from community members.
Apartments, parking deck
Developers have asked the city to allow up to 20 stories on the nearly 3 acres for apartment towers and a parking deck. The property, at 707 Semart Drive, is currently zoned for up to seven stories.
Neighborhood and preservation advocates urged city leaders to save the train station for future generations. Many people at the meeting held signs, and a petition with over 3,000 signatures was virtually turned in.
“The citizens of Raleigh want to live in an interesting and beautiful city. Don’t you?” Matthew Brown said during the public hearing. “The architectural landmarks like Seaboard make this an interesting and beautiful city. You can increase density without destroying these landmarks.”
Developers can submit zoning conditions to help in the negotiation process. In a zoning condition, Turnbridge agreed to preserve at least half of the station or relocate at least half of the station.
But it was the final part of the condition that gave some community members and council members pause.
If preserving or relocating was not feasible financially and physically, the station could be destroyed as long as pieces of it are used on the site.
“I do believe that Turnbridge plans to do the right thing on this site, but that belief and what is written in the conditions are two separate things,” Council member Jonathan Melton said. “And so we need to make sure that we get the conditions right. Because, quite frankly, I think that this station would enhance this overall place. It’s called the Seaboard Station.”
The rezoning case will return to the council Sept. 20. Any new zoning conditions would need to be turned into the city by Friday.
This story was originally published September 7, 2022 8:34 AM.
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