Development Beat: 5401 North

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Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Site plans have been filed for a new apartment complex that will be located at the 5401 North mixed-use community currently getting built at the intersection of 401 and I-540 in northeast Raleigh.

5401 North

5401 North

Here’s the thing about 5401 North: we never heard of it before we started writing today’s column. The first, and as far as we can tell, only real article about the place was written three and a half years ago by Amanda Hoyle over at the Triangle Business Journal.

But since then? Well, in January 2016, the News & Observer mentioned it in passing in an article about the new River Bend Elementary School. And we here at the Development Beat missed the boat completely (until now). Whoops.

Fortunately, the developers put together a pretty handy “fast facts” section on their website, which saves us the time of having to summarize key components of the project ourselves.

  • 5401 North is over 400 acres, bounded by Interstate 540 to the south, US 401 (Louisburg Road) to the west, the Neuse River to the east, and the Northern Campus of Wake Tech Community College to the north.
  • Over 1/4 of the development is dedicated for parks, trails and open spaces. Tree-lined sidewalks, community amenity area, a community dog park, a 25-acre city park and over 2.5 miles of footpaths and biking trails make 5401 North exceptionally appealing to nature lovers.
  • A combination of up to 1,800 single-family homes, townhomes, row houses and apartments make up the community. Homes range in price from $290,000 to $700,000 designed to draw a diverse workforce to the community.
  • An abundance of Class A office and retail space makes 5401 North a live, work, and play community.

Emphasis added by us on that third point. Serious question: is there a lot of diversity between people who can afford $300,000 homes vs. those who can afford $700,000 ones? Maybe; we honestly don’t know.

Of course, the apartments will likely offer monthly rents lower than the mortgage on a $300,000 home – we hope – so maybe this new four-story, three-building 205-unit complex will help bring in some of that much-desired diversity.

The 5401 North Apartments will occupy a total of 232,808 square feet and offer its residents 356 parking spaces. Nice!

There’s not much more information on them available in the sparse site plan review documents, and the project website dedicates a lot more space to talking about the single family homes now under construction than it does the apartments getting built at some point in the future.

More was written abut single-family homes than apartments

More was written abut single-family homes than apartments

Here’s what they do have on the apartments:

“Currently under design, the multi-family apartments will be located around the community’s town square. Residential apartments will be positioned above convenient shops and services that are within walking distance of all the residents in 5401 North.”

5401 North does sound like a nice enough place, but it’s kind of weird there haven’t been any write-ups about the place since Amanda Hoyle’s 2013 piece.

The developer has been more than generous in terms of putting out photos, renderings, project updates, etc. and has been maintaining a pretty active Twitter account since last July and a Facebook account for even longer: so why the radio silence?

It feels like we’ve written half a dozen articles about all those new mixed-use projects around Crabtree, and usually for something as big as 5401 North, people will write in to ask us what’s happening out there. But not a peep!

Here’s our guess as to why that is: this project has been kicking around for a long long time: when Hoyle wrote about it all the way back in 2010, she noted that it had been on hold for four years at that point.

So there’s probably a vague general awareness of the project, but with all that’s been going on in Raleigh development in the last few years, people forgot about a delayed mixed-use project.

Renderings for 5401 North

Renderings for 5401 North

And even though construction has started, it appears they’ve only been building the single-family homes portion of the overall development.

This kind of construction doesn’t usually get reported on here or elsewhere in the Raleigh real-estate news circuit. Still, there’s at least usually some kind of groundbreaking ceremony/photo-op for that kind of thing, and we couldn’t find one.

Considering how much we sometimes struggle for material here at the Development Beat, we can’t believe we missed this one until now. We even felt a little bad about it: as we mentioned, the developer has done a pretty good job of promoting their project on social media, and we somehow didn’t see any of it.

Renderings for 5401 North

Renderings for 5401 North

OK, so maybe that means they haven’t done a great job promoting the project, but they’ve done a great job at providing information and updates, which we appreciate more. We’ll try and do a better job of following it from here on out.

One last thing: the developer even put out a few YouTube videos about the place, which is neat. Unfortunately, the one linked in their very first tweet from July of last year had zero thumbs up and one thumbs down. Ouch. Full disclosure: we gave it a thumbs up, but not just out of pity. It was a good video!