Friday, July 24, 2009

JULY 2009

David Pittman started work on 510 S. Saunders. Among the first to take the plunge, David successfully completed his renovation and is now residing in his new home.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Raleigh Rickshaw Serves Rosengarten Park

I saw this fellow riding by while we were getting ready to start the first renovation today. His name is John Kirbow and he was nice enough to pose for this photo. He explained that Raleigh Rickshaw is happy to pick up and drop off people from this area. Living in Rosengarten park, you can step out of your front door, get in the pedicab, and ride downtown via the most energy efficient mode of transportation yet invented. John's number is 910-670-0516 in case you need a ride.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Rosegarten Project Getting Started

Rosengarten Park Update       

Cleaning up the Buildings

Last week, we started cleanup work on the block.  To help the appearance of the street we asked permission to move the boards securing the vacant properties from the outside to the inside of the houses.  Where visible through the windows, the boards were covered with black felt paper to disguise their presence.  We also removed the unsightly lattice covering the front porch of 515 S. Saunders and the cattle-pen-like boards that enclosed the porch at 512 S. Saunders.


Cleaning up the Yards

We have been mowing, pruning, edging, and cutting back the undergrowth around the houses and on the vacant lots.  We are not cutting down any trees and are also being careful to preserve an abundance of mature Wisteria vines around the site.   To clean up the streetscape, we will be adding salvaged brick to some of the spaces between the curb and sidewalk along Cabarrus and Saunders.  This work will continue as we start work on the houses.


Increased Security, Horse Patrols, and Other Police Enforcement

Each vacant house has been strongly secured and posted with no-trespassing signs.  The Raleigh Police Department is working with us to keep the street under control by patrolling via horseback, bike, and car.  The effectiveness of this was shown to us when we were confronted by two officers on horseback after showing one house to a potential buyer! 


Great Response to Initial Sales Offer

In order to progress as fast as possible with the restoration project, we put a couple houses on the market in their pre-renovation states.  These properties are to be sold with covenants requiring their immediate restoration to historic specs, restrictions against renting in the first year, and with the restrictive covenants of the HOA to ensure that each property contributes to the neighborhood restoration project.  The large number of inquires we received in the few days they have been on the market was inspiring.  We have had multiple showings and are now working to solidify sales terms with a few prospective buyers.  We are currently considering whether to offer additional pre-renovation properties.


Historic Research

We met with representatives of the Raleigh Historic Districts staff last week and laid out a path that will hopefully lead to both national and local historic designations.   Our online and NC State Archive research has already lead to the discovery of a number of interesting historical facts.  The next step is to schedule a site tour with national historic districts representative.


Renovations to Start Next Week - New Sign Going Up

We have secured the funds for the first renovations.  If the City Council confirms the BED committee’s 6 month extensions Tuesday, we will begin work.  To celebrate, we will be installing a large sign on the corner of W. Cabbarus and S. Saunders announcing the long awaited start of the project.  

Friday, May 15, 2009

Rosengarten Park Shared Space and Parking Agreements

Cross Access and Shared Space Sample

Practical Space Sharing Agreements in Historic Neighborhoods

Over the course of decades in historic neighborhoods, residents work out logical arrangements with each other to maximize the use of space.  These arrangements typically ignore actual lot lines and focus on the practical use of areas.  This is especially true with small houses and lots.   For security and maintenance reasons, it is also important that there are no unclaimed spaces, or no-man’s lands.  Since at this point in history, we have control of nearly the entire neighborhood, we are taking this opportunity to formalize these agreements in ways the benefit all the residents.


Creating Usable Space from Small Areas

If two houses share a ten foot space between them, with one house having a lot line 2 feet into the space and the other 8 feet, it doesn’t make any sense to divide it into two two awkward spaces that are too small to use.  In conditions such as this we are granting a landscape easement to the house with the larger portion and a maintenance easement to the house with the smaller portion.  The smaller portion house keeps ownership and the right to use that space for home maintenance purposes.  The larger portion house’s ownership remains the same, but gets use of the whole space, allowing for a functional courtyard area.


Cooperative Agreements to Provide Off Street Parking

Similarly, by creating cooperative parking and driveway cross access agreements, we are able to provide off street parking for nearly everyone, while preserving almost all of the historic tree canopy.  All parking and driveways will be made from gravel to preserve the historic character and to help preserve the trees. Click here to see a PDF of the agreements we are putting in place.


Thursday, April 2, 2009

Alec Rosengarten Biography Located

In researching the history of the site, we located a book from the Harvard College library with a short biography about Alec Rosengarten that explains how he originally created this small neighborhood. It appears to have been published in 1932.

It states that “Alec Rosengarten was born in Russia, son of Isaac Rosengarten. At the early age of 14 years he left home and friends and native land, and without kindred or companion, he crossed the broad Atlantic and arrived in America with a few hundred dollars and a purpose to make a fortune. That was in 1889. “

“Some time ago he made a large purchase in West Cabarrus Street. At that time there was no connection between Cabarrus Street and Boylan Heights, but Mr. Rosengarten Gave the land over with which it was necessary to make the connection, and by that act became a public benefactor. “ You can download the full bio by clicking here.

This is the original plat that he had recorded.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Small House Design Co-Operative to be Formed

Word has gotten out about what we are up to at Rosengarten and a number of architects have expressed a desire to participate in the creation of the houses that will be built there. We have decided to open the architectural designs up to a few well known architects in the belief that it will add interest and diversity to the project. The idea is based in part on a design competition that was sponsored by the City of Portland called urban smart homes. Our variation would have a smaller number of architects participating and an atmosphere of collaboration rather then competition. We are working on the specifics of the profit and will have more details in the near future. A broad outline/schedule is shown below:

Architecture Board
Create/edit architectural design standards
Designs are approved for catalog by board,

Design Standards
Focus on massing, size, interaction with lot and neighboring buildings, with room for architectural innovation

House Catalog
Buyers can choose from designs for specific lots

Website & blog
The website will display all designs and provide links to the designers
The website will display all board members, bio’s, and links to their sites.
Board members may participate on blog, publish related articles, videos, pics and links as appropriate


March –
First draft of design standards provided for review.
Provide photo, bio, links, for website

Finalize design standards
Provide basic information for design, an elevation, description of goals or features, approx size & cost
Creation and review of catalog’s informational sections

Start of promotion, reservation list
Refine plans

Complete plans & pricing Presales be begin

We hope to have final approval from the City Council in August

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Public Hearing Date Set

After reviewing our proposal, the City of Raleigh staff has set a date of July 21st for our public hearing. We are really pushing the limits of urban design and the staff is doing their best to try and help us fit it into current codes, but its challenges most of today's code which was designed with suburbs in mind.

Before the 21st, we plan to have another meeting with the Boylan Heights neighborhood and with the Central Citizens Advisory Committee. After the public hearing, we will have appear before the Planning Commission, and then back to the City Council for approval as soon as August 5th.