Development Beat: Teardown Tuesday

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North Haven Church

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Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Hope everyone enjoyed the Labor Day weekend; to our mind, the weather couldn’t have been better. One of those three-day stretches where the old saying “Nothing could be finer than to be in North Carolina” really rings true.

As it happens, this reporter won’t be in Carolina this upcoming weekend: I’ll be attending a wedding in New Jersey and spending a few days at the beach. So no column next week.

Ocean City, New Jersey

James Borden

Ocean City, New Jersey

With that out of the way, let’s get into the subjects of today’s post: a duplex demo in south Raleigh and a storage building teardown at a church in north Raleigh.

In November 2015, James Oneal, the owner of the boarded-up duplex at 1104 South Person Street was called before City Council due to a hearing regarding the need to demolish his “unfit” property. And yes, that’s Oneal, not O’Neal, at least according to city and county records. Despite sharing my first name, I don’t believe Mr. Oneal shares my majority-Irish heritage.

According to both the official minutes and Jane Porter’s City Council live blog from that November meeting, Oneal quickly shifted the conversation from his need to pay off various fines to congratulating the City on its recent acquisition of Dix Park and the flood of offers he’d received on his property due to the revitalization of downtown Raleigh. Oneal sounds like our kind of guy.

Unfortunately, Oneal was cut off by former Councilor Wayne Maiorano: “I’m not sure how what we’re hearing relates to to this building demolition,” Maiorano said.

“If you insist, I’ll just address that,” Oneal responded.

That doesn’t appear to have happened; per Porter’s write-up, Oneal shifted instead to “talking about flight back to the urban core from the suburbs.”

The City had first sent notices about the needed repairs — which exceeded 50 percent of the building’s value — more than a year prior to the November 2015 hearing. Staff was pushing for a demolition due to “no efforts to make repairs.” Ouch.

Council ruled that the house would be torn down within 90 days if Oneal did not make some improvements. Although no permits were issued between November 2015 and August 29, 2016, when the demo permit was granted, it’s possible some minor work not requiring City approval was done in order to push back the teardown date.

The home was first built in 1920, and according to County records appears to have been converted to a duplex in 1959. The 1,349 square-foot structure had neither heating nor air conditioning, and has been in the Oneal family since 1977.

1104 S Person

1104 S Person

As is often the case with older, rundown homes in and around downtown Raleigh, the land itself is worth more than the building; in this case, a lot more. The most recent assessed value puts the land at $45,000, while the home is valued at $8,373. Ouch. A quick look at the tax bills dating back to 2014 indicates the value has been steadily climbing over the years.

It’s interesting that it was noted during last November’s Council meeting that repairs would exceed 50 percent of the building value; High Point Builders will be handling the demolition of a home valued at $8,373 for $9,500. Insult to injury!

Next up is the demolition of a small storage building located on the grounds of the North Haven Church at 6620 Six Forks Road. Not a very exciting project, but whoever runs the church’s website has an affection for alliteration that rivals our own (emphasis added): “North Haven Church is a caring, growing, Biblically-balanced body of believers in Jesus Christ located on Six Forks Road in Raleigh, North Carolina.”

North Haven Church


North Haven Church

If I had a job writing copy for a religious organization, I’d have probably taken the afternoon off had I been able to conjure up a phrase as good as “Biblically-balanced body of believers.” Beautiful!

The demolition itself concerns a small, 600 square-foot storage building that will be torn down for $2,500 by J.H. Batten Inc.

We think we located the building in question via Google Earth; check out the second picture in the gallery below. We’ll drive by later this month and see if we were right.