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New project could add hundreds of apartments near Durham Bulls Athletic Park

Hundreds of apartments, like the ones shown in this picture, are being built near Durham Bulls Athletic Park in downtown Durham. As the city grows, residents worry gentrification will come with it.
Hundreds of apartments, like the ones shown in this picture, are being built near Durham Bulls Athletic Park in downtown Durham. As the city grows, residents worry gentrification will come with it. The News & Observer

More details have emerged about a large apartment project planned for downtown Durham near the Durham Bulls Athletic Park.

Charlotte-based Lennar Multifamily Communities (LMC) submitted plans last month to the Durham City-County Planning Department for a 6-story building at 425 S. Roxboro St. that would add hundreds of apartments to a growing section of downtown. LMC purchased the property for $13.5 million last year.

Under the submitted plans, the project, which is called Durham Gateway, would add 366 apartment units, a 660-space parking deck and 5,000 square feet of retail space to a 4-acre parcel bordered by Jackie Robinson Drive and Dillard and Roxboro streets.

But the plans — which will need to be approved by the planning department — could be altered to include even more apartments or an office tower, said Jeff Harris, divisional president for the Carolinas at LMC.

“We are still somewhat in a state of flux,” Harris said of the plans.

LMC is holding talks with multiple parties, Harris said, about building an office tower at the corner of Jackie Robinson Drive and Roxboro Street, which could potentially range in size from 80,000 square feet to 200,000 square feet.

LMC could select a development partner for the office tower in the next two months, Harris said, but if that falls through, the plan would be to add around 100 additional apartment units at that corner of the property.

The 5,000 square feet of retail space, located on the Dillard Street side of the property, could become restaurant space, Harris added.

The Durham Gateway project will be the latest in a string of residential and office construction targeted for the southern part of downtown near DBAP and the county courthouse.

The Durham Gateway project would sit between two large-scale developments that are already underway or completed: the Bullhouse Apartments at 504 E. Pettigrew St., and the Van Alen building, a Northwood Ravin project that will add around 400 apartment units.

A 10-story office tower called 555 Mangum — another Northwood Ravin project — is also under construction. On the other side of the baseball park, another project under construction will add around 300 apartments on the site of an old hotel.

Harris said he isn’t worried about those projects affecting Durham Gateway’s ability to attract tenants because the project is on such a different timeline than the other ones. Durham Gateway likely won’t be finished until the middle of 2020 at the earliest.

Those apartments “will be full before we get open,” Harris said.

“I think more folks are going to find (the area) desirable," he added. "These projects are going to fill in near 147. It's going to have a good feel of people walking out and about.”

LMC is the apartment building arm of the Miami-based home construction giant Lennar Corp. The multifamily division was created in 2011 and has been building high-rise apartment projects across the country.

The firm recently began planning potential projects in the Charlotte area. In uptown Charlotte, Lennar Multifamily said it will break ground on a five-story mixed-use development and a 30-story residential high-rise next year. The high-rise tower will have around 342 units, according to the Charlotte Observer.

Zachery Eanes: 919-419-6684, @zeanes

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