Okay, so the West building wasn’t in foreclosure. Yet. And maybe they wouldn’t have been. Who really knows? But the Gregg Sandreuter-developed, dual-directionally monikered property, and others like it, is still a good idea for Raleigh. A vibrant downtown needs residential. What the West suffered from was an unpredictable financial market beat-down. In fact, if you have the energy, you can Google all kinds of facts about people and companies heading back to smaller urban centers, like Raleigh. It’s a demographic trend being paid attention to by more industries than real estate, that’s for sure. But it can’t happen without the real estate industry, that’s also for sure.
One could make the argument that Raleigh itself was becoming somewhat over-valued as a national destination, which is what many condo developers were banking on to explain at least a healthy portion of their visits to the Register of Deeds office. We simply ask: does Raleigh’s urban center offer enough to warrant a $700,000 condo? Maybe. But not definitely. Not yet anyway. (Cough! Light rail to RTP! Cough!)
The Paramount stands as a terrific example of what can happen in Raleigh when the timing is right. And that’s really all that went wrong here. This auction was a great idea and it was somewhat disheartening to read that a few of the buyers simply plan to rent them for a while, some to turn in a couple of years and others to move into after retirement. Price kill or not, it would be great to see more faces in Downtown.