Duke sells site of former lacrosse house

Jul. 22, 2014 @ 08:45 PM

A replacement for the notorious “Duke lacrosse house” on North Buchanan Boulevard is due in the near future, judging from city permit filings.

Inspectors have issued a series of building permits for a new dwelling on the site, which has been vacant since Duke University tore down the so-called lacrosse house in 2010.

Plans on file say the new house will have two floors and 3,116 square feet of heated floor space.

On the upper floor, there will be four bedrooms and two full bathrooms. Downstairs, there will be a kitchen, living, foyer, half-bath and a “flex room” that can serve as a dining room, den, office, home theater or fifth bedroom.

County property records indicate that Duke sold the property in June to a shell corporation called University City LLC. The land went for $100,000.

The deed specified that the new owners will remain bound by the terms of the restrictive covenants Duke attached to the house in 2006 after buying it and 11 others from Durham rental landlord Guy Solie.

The covenants were supposed to ensure the former Solie houses – once used as student rentals – wound up as owner-occupied homes when Duke put them back on the market.

They allow future owners to rent out rooms only if they themselves live on the property, or for two years if they have to vacate for “work-related reasons.” They have to put the property up for sale if it goes unoccupied for a year.

The plans and permit filings listed Aaron Lubeck as general contractor leading the project. But Lubeck couldn’t be reached at the phone number given on them, which is for Trinity Design/Build, a local firm that specializes in “historic preservation, green building and eco-friendly interiors.”

Trinity’s president, Alan Spruyt, referred questions to Duke Vice President Michael Schoenfeld, the university’s chief spokesman.

Schoenfeld in turn confirmed that the plan is to build a “single-family home” but offered no other information. “It’s a private transaction, so I’m going to decline to comment on any of the details,” he said.

A near-neighbor of the house, City Councilman Eugene Brown, said the recent moves had caught the attention of residents of the Trinity Park neighborhood who “contacted me a week or so ago” about the project.

“They wanted to know what was up with it,” Brown said. “They saw construction beginning to take place there.”

He added that “the guy doing it has done good work in older neighborhoods.”

Attempts Tuesday to contact the top leaders of the Trinity Park neighborhood association were not immediately successful. The group’s treasurer is city Audit Services Director Germaine Brewington, who promised to relay an interview request to the association’s president and vice president.

The plans for the new house suggest it will resemble others in the vicinity.

The since-demolished “lacrosse” house gained notoriety in 2006, when it was being rented by three captains of Duke’s 2005-06 men’s lacrosse team.

They hosted a team party that attracted public and police attention when a stripper, Crystal Mangum, falsely alleged she’d been raped at the function.

The allegation ignited controversy, an abortive criminal prosecution and civil litigation against the city by team members that only ended in late June.