Wake Forest Northeast Community Plan - December 2021

NORTHEAST COMMUNITY PLAN Our neighborhood. Our vision.





BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS Mayor Vivian Jones Jim Dyer Chad Sary Liz Simpers Bridget Wall-Lennon Adam Wright

Economic Development Downtown Development Parks, Recreation and Cultural Resources Public Works

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PLANNING BOARD Colleen Sharpe Karin Kuropas Christopher Joyner Joe Kimray


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Stakeholder Group (Representatives from Town Departments, Wake County, Religious Institutions, Northeast Community Coalition, and neighborhood groups)



Thomas Ballman Michael Siderio Michael Hickey










Public Participation Partners (P3)




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Northeast Community Plan







BACKGROUND The Northeast Community is a well-established neighborhood in the Town of Wake Forest. Located just north of Downtown Wake Forest, the neighborhood is one of the Town’s oldest and has a long and vibrant history. The neighborhood was founded by formerly enslaved African Americans after the Civil War and remains a predominantly African American community today. As the Town of Wake Forest grows and evolves, the Northeast Community will play a significant role in its future. This document is intended to serve as a community plan to guide the growth of the Northeast Community. This first section of this Plan provides an overview of the area’s existing conditions, as well as the communities needs and desires, as collected through a robust community outreach program and through extensive physical mapping. 1.A

For additional history and context, please visit the Town Website and view the Northeast Community Storymap.


The Northeast Community Plan is closely linked to the Town of Wake Forest Community Plan. While the Town of Wake Forest Community Plan provides larger scale and overarching recommendations, the Northeast Community Plan provides a more fine grained and focused approach for addressing current and future

plans for the neighborhood. The Town of Wake Forest Community Plan will acknowledge the Northeast Community Plan’s recommendations as a part of the overall plan to enrich the Town’s broader strategies for the future.

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STUDY AREA AND PLAN GOALS The Northeast Community is located in the northeast quadrant of the Town of Wake Forest and comprises over 315 acres and more than 700 parcels. The Northeast Community Plan will provide direction and guidance for the future development of, and improvements to, the entire Northeast Community as it continues to play a significant role in the future of Wake Forest. 1.B


PLAN GOALS • Create a cohesive and workable plan that embraces the Neighborhood’s history and community. • Enhance and protect the quality of life in the community. • Evaluate current conditions within the Northeast Community and understand the impact of current and future land uses, development, connectivity changes, and related factors. • Address local economic conditions and create a platform to encourage local services and jobs. • Provide specific goals and actions to achieve a unified neighborhood vision.

THE STUDY AREA The Northeast Community is a significant historic core neighborhood for Wake Forest. Settled after the Civil War, the Community established itself as a vibrant center of African American culture and tradition. Many of the neighborhood’s families can trace their roots back to the original families who settled the area. The neighborhood abuts the downtown commercial area. It is bordered by E. Roosevelt Avenue/Wait Avenue to the south and N. White Street to the west. Ailey Young Park marks the eastern boundary of the study area (see Figure 1.B.1). The neighborhood has a rich history, with several active historic churches including the Olive Branch Baptist and Spring Street Presbyterian churches. The neighborhood is home to the former Wake Forest Normal and Industrial School, the first private school in the Town for African American children. Founded by noted local residents Allen Young and Nathaniel Mitchell, the school provided rich educational opportunities for the area’s residents. The Neighborhood also contains the site of the former W.E.B. DuBois school, a local school that provided public education for the area’s African American children.

W.E.B. DuBois School Site

Alston- Massenburg Center

Wake Forest Cemetery

Ailey Young House

Ailey Young Park

Downtown Wake Forest


Building Footprints Streets Railroads Study Area

Data Sources: Town of Wake Forest, Wake County 0 300 Feet

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THE STUDY AREA TODAY The Northeast Community is a product of historic development patterns, resources, policies, and planning efforts. To achieve an inclusive understanding of the community, a comprehensive review of land use, regulatory frameworks, transportation assets, previous planning efforts, community amenities, historic resources, and environmental concerns was undertaken. This information is summarized below. 1.C

Glen Royall Mill Village Historic District



Local Historic District

HISTORIC RESOURCES The Northeast Community is bordered by three National Register Historic Districts and one Local Historic District located on the west side of the community (see Figure 1.C.1a). • The L ocal Historic District was created in 1979 to preserve an architecturally significant and historic portion of the town. The district is largely located north of the Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary with a small portion lying to the south. • The Glen Royall Mill Village Historic District was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1999. This district includes much of the village that was built around the Royall Cotton Mill. • The Downtown Wake Forest Historic District was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 2002 and includes several blocks along S. White Street which makes up the Town’s historic commercial core. • The Wake Forest Historic District was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 2003 and contains the former campus of Wake Forest College (current Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary) and the surrounding areas that make up much of the Town’s historic core.

The Northeast Community is home to several historic properties. • The Ailey Young House is considered one of the oldest African American buildings in Wake Forest. Built c.1875, it is a prime example of Reconstruction- era African American housing. Named for Ailey Young, an African American woman and early owner of the property, the house is a vibrant reminder of the Northeast Community’s significant history. • The W.E.B. DuBois School was built in the 1920s as a public school for African American children. The DuBois School was integrated in 1971 and became the Wake Forest/Rolesville Middle School. In 1989, the school was closed. The DuBois campus remains a well known and loved historic site. • The Olive Branch Baptist Church has served the Northeast Community since the close of the Civil War and is the oldest continually operating church in the neighborhood. The church and cemetery were added to the North Carolina Study List for the National Register in 2020. • The Wake Forest Cemetery & Wake Forest African American Cemetery are both located in the Northeast Community. The cemeteries are over 100 years old and contain graves of many of Wake Forest’s notable residents.

W.E.B. DuBois School

Wake Forest Cemetery

Ailey Young House

Wake Forest African American Cemetery

Wake Forest Historic District

Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary

Downtown Wake Forest Historic District


National Historic District Local Historic District Cemetery Building Footprints Streets Railroads Study Area

0 300 Feet Data Sources: Town of Wake Forest, Wake County

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FIGURE: 1.C.1b

LAND USE The majority of the study area is reserved for residential uses (see Figure 1.C.1b). The large institutional land use area comprising the W.E.B. DuBois School site is located within the northern half of the study area. There is a small recreation area located at E. Juniper Avenue and N. Taylor Street, and two green spaces which connect 7th Street to Ailey Young Park. It is noted, however, that there is no physical access to the park from these two green spaces on 7th Street. In the southwest corner of the study area, there is a small commercial district bordering N. White Street and E. Roosevelt Avenue. The Northeast Community promotes a desirable and relatively affordable quality of life, but needs appropriate measures to protect these assets as redevelopment takes place.

Several infill residential lots have been developed recently and many such developments do not align with the historic architectural character of the Northeast neighborhood (architectural style, exterior

materials, form, massing, landscape treatments, etc.). As the community

develops further, its overall character needs to be preserved. Preservation will necessitate the careful management of both incremental changes and new infill development(s) that continue to occur in the community. While located close to Downtown, the Northeast Community lacks desirable commercial amenities including healthy food options. Additionally, there is an absence of a sense of place or identity of the existing commercial areas located within the study area.


Residential Commercial Recreation Institutional Undeveloped

Building Footprints Streets Railroads Study Area

Commercial establishment at the intersection of N. White Street and E. Roosevelt Avenue provides convenience amenities to the Northeast Community

A residential neighborhood with single-family homes

0 300 Feet Data Sources: Town of Wake Forest, Wake County. Map data as of September 2021.

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Northeast Community Plan







Existing single-family home with landscaping and mature trees

Existing craftsman style home

Alston-Massenburg Center provides community gathering amenities

Commercial establishments along E. Roosevelt Avenue

DuBois Campus, site of former Rosenwald School and ancillary facilities, is one of the largest sites currently housing primarily institutional uses

Hope House promotes variety of community programs including food drives and mentoring

Example of new infill housing beside existing home

Multi-family public housing complex

New infill single-family homes

New single-family homes along Caddell Street by Habitat

Shopping center along N. White Street just north of the CVS Downtown is located on the south side of the study area

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FIGURE: 1.C.1c


ZONING The study area encompasses a variety of zoning designations, with the majority of areas designated residential (see Figure 1.C.1c). • Urban Residential (UR) allows for single-family housing, duplexes, small apartment buildings and townhomes. UR covers much of the central portion of the study area. • Urban Mixed Use (UMX), Residential Mixed Use (RMX), and Neighborhood Business (NB) allow for higher density housing and limited commercial uses. These zones are located along Wait Avenue and Roosevelt Avenue in the southern part of the study area and along N. White Street in the northeastern part of the study area. • General Residential (GR3 & GR5) zone allow for residential uses and related recreational, religious, and education facilities. This zone serves as a transition between rural and urban developments/ character areas. GR is located in the southeastern and northeastern portions of the neighborhood.

• Open Space (OS) preserves and protects environmentally sensitive lands and are under public ownership. OS is located on the eastern side and of the study area, with a small space in the center of the study area. Currently, as per the Town’s regulations, any non- residential uses on residentially- zoned parcels are considered non-conforming. Rezoning is required to add any commercial or institutional development in areas that are zoned for residential use within the study area. An application for rezoning must be submitted to the Planning Department for consideration. Such rezoning are considered by the Town government based on parcel-specific rezoning application(s).















General Residential (GR) Urban Residential (UR) Residential Mixed-Use (RMX) Neighborhood Mixed Use (NMX) Urban Mixed-Use (UMX) Renaissance Area Historic Core (RA HC)

Neighborhood Business (NB) Institutional Campus Development (ICD) Open Space (OS) Streets Railroads Study Area


300 Feet

Data Sources: Town of Wake Forest, Wake County. Map data as of September 2021.

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COMMUNITY FACILITIES The study area contains many community facilities including churches, civic organizations, and other community assets (see Figure 1.C.1d).

Located immediately outside of the study area are multiple community facilities including: • Wake Forest Church of God • Franklin Academy High School • Glen Royal Baptist Church • Ailey Young Park • Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary • Downtown Wake Forest • Wake Forest Historical Museum While these are, in general, modestly-sized community gathering spaces, there is an opportunity to create a large public gathering space within the Community that can provide both indoor and outdoor events.

Religious Institutions • Olive Branch Baptist Church • Faith Tabernacle UHC • Spring Street Christian Church Civic Amenities (providing public gathering and community center functionalities) • Alston-Massenburg Center • Hope House

• Ailey Young Park • Community Assets • Ailey Young House • DuBois Campus

Taylor Street Park sprayground adjacent to Alston- Massenburg Center


Building Footprints Streets Railroads Study Area

0 300 Feet Data Sources: Town of Wake Forest, Wake County

Spring Street Christian Church is one of many churches providing services to the community Shelter and outdoor gathering facilities at the Hope House

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Bluffs at Joyner Park




DEVELOPMENT ACTIVITY The study area has a small number of active development projects. All these projects represent infill developments within the Neighborhood (see Figure 1.C.1e). Active projects include: • Trinity Park- 12 lot, residential development • Brewer Circle Development- 9 lot, residential development • Wait Avenue Condos- multi-unit residential complex In addition, there are a number of active development projects outside of the study area -- most notably the Traditions residential area. Traditions (formally

Traditions West) is a 240- acre, 439 lot residential development which is located on the eastern border of the study area. While new developments are encouraged throughout the Community, attention should be given to promoting those that fit the character and context of the Northeast Community. New developments should also promote affordability and provide amenities that can benefit the Neighborhood’s residents at large.

Trinity Park

Olde Wake Forest


Brewer Circle Development

Wait Avenue Condos

New development signage at Perry Street (northeast of the DuBois Campus site)


Active Development Projects Building Footprints Streets Railroads Study Area

0 300 Feet Data Sources: Town of Wake Forest, Wake County. Map data as of September 2021.

Traditions development located to the east side of the Northeast Community

Habitat for Humanity developed single-family homes along Caddell Street

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CONNECTIVITY Existing connectivity is limited, particularly in the form of pedestrian and bicycle amenities, throughout the study area (see Figure 1.C.2). However, the Town has been gradually working on improving the pedestrian and bicycle facilities in the area through the implementation of planned public infrastructure projects, including those recommended in the Town’s 2019 Comprehensive Transportation Plan. • The Wake Forest Loop is the only bus line in the study area. The bus travels along N. White Street, E. Juniper Avenue, N. Allen Road, and Wait Avenue and connects mostly to points south. The loop interchanges with other transit lines along its route, outside of the Northeast Community. This service is free for residents. • Currently, there are no existing bicycle facilities within the study area. However, there is a proposed bike lane/ sharrow along Wait Avenue on the extreme southern border of the study area. This proposed bicycle facility would

integrate with both existing and planned infrastructure improvements for the area.

• There are no existing greenway/

multi-use paths within the Northeast Community. However, there are planned facilities along E. Juniper Avenue and along N. White Street from E. Juniper Avenue to Royal Mill Avenue. These planned improvements will connect to existing greenway/ multi-use paths on E. Juniper Avenue and Royal Mill Avenue. There is also a proposed multi-use path along Wait Avenue at N. Allen Road. Connectivity in the Northeast Community should be improved through a variety of interventions including new multi-use paths, greenways, and streetscapes. In addition, pedestrian and bicyclist safety should be prioritized with street calming elements and other improvements.


Bus Route/Stop Existing Greenway/Multi Use Path Proposed Greenway/Multi Use Path Existing Bike Lane/ Sharrow Proposed Bike Lane/ Sharrow

Building Footprints Sidewalks Proposed Sidewalks Streets Railroads Study Area

One of the transit stops for the Wake Forest Loop that services the Northeast Community

Numerous streets with the study area lack safe/ appropriate pedestrian/ bicycle facilities

Bicycle and pedestrian opportunities are not present on this street

0 300 Feet Data Sources: Town of Wake Forest, Wake County

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NATURAL RESOURCES & OPEN SPACES The study area has a number of small streams which traverse the area. None of these are noted to be within the 500-year flood plain (see Figure 1.C.3). The Northeast Community’s mature tree canopy and coverage contribute to its character as an attractive and peaceful environment. The canopy is notable on the eastern side of the study area around Ailey Young Park. Other open spaces in the Neighborhood include the Wake Forest Cemetery, Wake Forest African American Cemetery, Ailey Young Park, and the Taylor Street Park Sprayground (at the Alston-Massenburg Center).

New developments should take into consideration the preservation of natural resources and environmentally sensitive areas such as stream corridors, wooded lots and steep slope areas. Additionally, every effort should be made to preserve the Neighborhood’s tree canopy, as well as expand it via streetscape improvements.

Taylor St Park

Wake Forest Cemetery

Wake Forest African American Cemetery

Ailey Young Park

Community garden on North Taylor Street Christian Church along Spring Street


Topography (2ft Contours) Waterway Waterbody Floodplain (500-year) Open Space

Building Footprints Streets Railroads Study Area

0 300 Feet Data Sources: Town of Wake Forest, Wake County

Ailey Young Park

Wake Forest Cemetery

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Housing • Housing Market Echoes the Lull in Growth, While Ownership Increasing – The increasing homeownership rate in the study area is a positive trend that should be further encouraged as the area builds up household wealth and channels investments to the housing stock and the community. • Naturally-Occurring Affordable Housing Could Still Face Challenges – The study area is comprised predominately of owner-occupied units and the area is still considered affordable in the Wake Forest market. But the household incomes in the study area are still significantly lagging behind the Town of Wake Forest and the MSA. If the housing prices in the study area continue to increase, which is very likely, while the income levels continue to lag behind, then some of the existing naturally-occurring affordable housing will not be affordable anymore.

KEY DEMOGRAPHIC AND HOUSING ISSUES Issue 1 Population changes in the Northeast

Community are stagnating at 0.4% per year over the past decade and household growth may not be sufficient to sustain a healthy, growing community in the future. • Market Factors – The diversity of housing options in the Northeast is limited in terms of housing types, age, and price. This is limiting outside interest in the community as a place to live and is isolating it from growth occurring in other parts of town. • Opportunity – To attract young families and single people, greater housing options are needed. There is an opportunity to offer broader housing types and choices to attract new residents on a modest scale. Issue 2 There is a mismatch between the education levels of Northeast Community residents and their lower income levels, compared to the Town and MSA. The median household income of $85,660 in the Town is 1.1 times the MSA level ($76,960), while the median household income in the study area ($57,601) is only 67.2% of the Town level in 2020. Roughly 72.2% of Northeast residents have completed at least some college education. • Market Factors – The lack of access to better paying jobs for the Northeast residents keep household income levels lower than their higher education levels would indicate. Also, unemployment levels are higher for younger people under 20 years old suggesting that job training or entrepreneur development may be needed to improve access to higher paying jobs.

DEMOGRAPHIC AND HOUSING ANALYSIS The demographic trend and projection analysis provides the metrics to better understand the Northeast Community, its economy, and how the community may evolve over the next 10 years. Analysis was conducted of recent demographic trends for the Northeast Community study area, the Town of Wake Forest, and the Raleigh-Cary Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) (Figure 1.D.1). This analysis produced a series of findings that identify potential opportunities and constraints that the study area must address as it moves forward with revitalization. The emerging market demand pressures identified in the analysis may reshape the development patterns of the Northeast Community study area and help define a framework for future programs, public investment and land use policies. Major findings, key issues, population and housing trends, as well as implications of the findings are included in this section. For additional demographic and housing data and analysis, please refer to Chapter 4: Appendix. 1.D


• Racially Diverse Population – The study area has a diverse population, with a robust representation from the African American population. There is also a sizable white population, which has been declining since 2010. This racial distribution stands in contrast to the Town of Wake Forest demographic in that the percentages of the African American population in the Town and MSA are substantially lower than in the study area. • High Education Attainment Levels Stand in Contrast to Modest Household Incomes – The study area has a high share of the population with at least some college or higher degrees, but it has proportionally more households with lower incomes compared to the Town of Wake Forest and the MSA. This is most likely because in 2020, 66% of the employed population aged 16 and above worked in the service and retail trade industries, which provide lower wages.

Demographics • Stagnant Growth, Especially Since 2010 – The population gains and household growth in the Northeast Community study area have been falling behind compared to the Town of Wake Forest and the MSA, and have almost plateaued, whereas, the Town has outperformed the MSA in the same metrics since 2010. This seems to suggest that the study area has not been sharing the recovery momentum experienced in the Town as a whole after the last recession of 2009-2010.

• Distinct Characteristics – The

data suggest that there are more family households in the MSA and the Town, whereas the study area has proportionally younger and smaller households.

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Data Sources Primary data sources used for this study include demographic information from the U.S. Census Bureau and current estimates and projections from ESRI. ESRI is a nationally recognized third-party data provider that uses U.S. Census data to generate estimates and projections of socioeconomic variables for a range of geographic areas. Note that Census only released the 2020 data in August, 2021, which is prior to when this analysis was conducted.

• Opportunity – Gaining access to better paying jobs may require updated skills, technical certifications, and job training for local residents. The DuBois Campus has a long and proud history of providing education services to local residents, but those services are no longer being offered. In the future, the reestablishment of education and expanded job training programs to locations such as at a renewed DuBois Campus is an achievable goal. Issue 3 Homes within the Northeast Community are still more modestly priced and affordable than other neighborhoods in the Town, mostly because the homes are older and smaller in size than the rest of Wake Forest. A more diverse housing stock will offer people different housing options at different stages of life. Having more rental options will attract younger households that are not ready to own a home. • Market Factors – Limited new housing development is starting to occur within the Northeast Community at market rate prices that may be beyond local residents’ ability-to-pay. New housing priced between $200,000 and $300,000 would diversify the study area’s housing options and would still be affordable to many local residents. • Opportunity – Local affordable housing developers are actively seeking to acquire land for affordable housing. A public/private development partnership is one way to achieve affordable housing if suitable land can be obtained at reasonable prices.

County, the Northeast Community falls behind the broader community in certain key metrics such as median household income. However, the Northeast Community can leverage its proximity to Downtown (to the south), the amenities of Ailey Young Park (in the study area), and robust new residential development associated with the Traditions subdivision (located to the north and the east of the study area). As a result, strategic investments and well-crafted public policy should allow the residents of the Northeast Community to better position the community for future growth.

Study Area Boundaries The analysis highlighted the recognized Northeast Community study area boundaries as identified by the Town of Wake Forest’s Planning Department. This area includes community assets such as the DuBois Campus, the Alston-Massenburg Center, and Ailey Young Park. ESRI Business Analyst is the primary data source, whose data is based on U.S. Census data. It should be noted that some anomalies exist in ESRI’s data allocation methods when census block groups are split. The study area boundary does not neatly align with Census block group boundaries, and includes split census block groups. In this case, ESRI creates a centroid in each census block group and attributes all the census data in the block group that contains the centroid. As such, it is possible that though the study area boundary only cuts through a small portion of a block group, the data of that block group is represented in the study area. In other words, it is possible that data is being pulled from adjacent neighborhoods with different characteristics and possibly skewing the numbers. However, RKG was not able to adjust ESRI’s data allocation methods. To produce comparative metrics, the Town of Wake Forest and the Raleigh-Cary MSA were also analyzed and are shown in Figure 1.D.1. This expanded regional analysis provides a comparative measuring stick for evaluating the existing conditions and recent trends in the study area. Studying the broader MSA offers a context for evaluating the demographic changes that are likely to influence and reshape the study area over time. While the Town of Wake Forest is a center of affluence in Wake


Credit: RKG Associates, Inc., 2021

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Visual Summary of Demographics

Visual Summary of Housing



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TABLE: 1.D.1



Population Trends and Projections Northeast Community Study and Surrounding Areas, NC (2000-2025)

Change ‘00 - ‘10 Change ‘10 - ‘20 Change ‘20 - ‘25 Actual Chg. Ann. % Chg. Actual Chg. Ann. % Chg. Actual Chg. Ann. % Chg. 418 3.3% 75 0.4% 119 1.4%


growth of 620,165 people at an annual rate of 4.1% during the same two decades. In comparison, the population in the Northeast Community study area grew by only 493 at an annual rate of 2.1% between 2000 and 2020. It has been growing at 3.3% annually between 2000 and 2010, and almost flattened at 0.4% per year since 2010, falling behind both the Town and the MSA. The study area experienced an actual change of 418 people between 2000 and 2010, and merely 75 people between 2010 and 2020. This suggests that the study area, which accounts for 3.8% of the Town’s population, has not fully shared the growth in either the Town of Wake Forest or in the MSA. Also, the population growth rates for the MSA, the Town, and the Northeast study area have all been trending downward from a peak in the 2000s. The three geographies are projected to further close their gaps in population gains and stabilize at growth rates between 1.4% and 2.4% per year between 2020 and 2025 (Figure 1.D.2, Table 1.D.1). Household Trends The average household size of 2.56 in the study area was smaller than the Town (2.85 persons) and the MSA at 2.59 persons in 2020. Further, the average household sizes in the Town and the MSA have been increasing, while the opposite is true in the study area, where the average household size has been declining since 2010 (Figure 1.D.3). This suggests that there are larger households in the Town of Wake Forest, whereas the study area is attracting smaller

Jurisdiction 2000 2010



Population Trends (2000-2025) The Town of Wake Forest has seen robust population growth by 9.0% and 5.3% per year between 2000 and 2010, and between 2010 and 2020 respectively, outperforming the MSA’s 4.2% and 2.5% annual gains during the same periods. The Town’s population stood at 46,437 in 2020, accounting for 3% of the MSA’s population of 1,417,213. The Town added 30,465 people between 2000 and 2020 at an annual rate of 10%, and the MSA saw an actual





Study Area

15,972 30,331 46,437 51,917 14,359 9.0% 16,106 5.3% 5,480 2.4% 797,048 1,130,490 1,417,213 1,573,657 333,442 4.2% 286,723 2.5% 156,444 2.2%

Wake Forest Raleigh-Cary MSA

Credit: ESRI and RKG Associates, Inc., 2021


households and more single-person households. In general, the study area has proportionally more non-family households with unrelated persons than the Town (32.8% versus 25.1%) and a much higher percentage of households of one or two persons (58.3%) than the Town (49.7%). Most households in the study area are two-person family households with no 65+ persons (55.2%) and one-person households with no 65+ persons (15.2%).


Credit: ESRI and RKG Associates, Inc., 2021

IMPLICATIONS OF FINDINGS Residents in the Northeast Community feel isolated from the rest of the Town of Wake Forest in terms of road connections to adjacent neighborhoods, access to shopping and services and economic opportunities as compared to the rest of the community. The site analysis confirmed that there are physical barriers that are isolating the community (e.g., railroad tracks along the western edge, limited road connections leading to the community, etc.). The lack of population growth is a threat to the long-term health of the community and new households are not being added to the community. The lack of newer housing choices is keeping homebuyers and families from considering the Northeast Community as a place to live. While new homes are being constructed in the hundreds just outside the study area boundaries, very little has occurred in the Northeast Community itself. The resident population is educated, has moderate household incomes, and is predominantly comprised of younger singles and senior households. For the Northeast Community to prosper, more opportunities for young families to move into the neighborhood are needed. That can be accomplished with more diverse housing choices, including the renovation of existing homes to modernize them. Also, the community wants to add amenities and community activities to celebrate the community and invite others to learn the history of the area. Steps should be taken to address these issues and make the Northeast Community more accessible to the larger Wake Forest community.

Credit: ESRI and RKG Associates, Inc., 2021

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affordability. Home size is one way to maintain housing affordability, but it restricts the diversity of housing choices to mostly entry level homes. Homes in the Northeast Community are older on average than are those in the Town.

• Flex/R&D Market is Stable but not Growing – The Flex category in this submarket is a major player for the metro area. However, this category is currently built out. If a product is conceived that meets a specific target need, there is existing capacity in the submarket to effectively deliver the product. Flex/R&D is not an appropriate target for the Northeast Community. • Development Pipeline – While the

• Residential Sales Prices are

Increasing Rapidly Threatening Housing Affordability in the Study Area – The homes selling in the Northeast Community study area have had an average sales price of $159,539 over the past five years, which was only 48.2% of the Town average price of $331,336. In that regard, homes are still selling at affordable levels and are accessible to moderate income households. However, the potential for Northeast homes to remain affordable in the future is being threatened by annual price changes, which have increased by 48% since 2016 on a per square foot basis. Based on average home sales prices, regardless of building size, average prices have increased from $110,000 in 2016 to $189,000 in 2020, an increase of 72% in five years, which far outpaces the Town’s sells price increases of 19.5% and 21.9% respectively. • Strong Apartment Demand in the Northeast Raleigh Submarket – The Northeast Raleigh submarket will benefit disproportionately from the pending growth rate of the Raleigh metro area. The REIS (Real Estate Information Services) data confirms the socioeconomic findings that the Wake Forest area is a destination. • Office Market Demand is Weak in Wake Forest – There is not a sufficient demand to build new office space in the US-1/Capitol Boulevard Corridor submarket, which is the closest REIS office submarket to the Northeast Community.

REAL ESTATE MARKET ANALYSIS 1.E The Real Estate Market Analysis examines recent trends in the North Wake County real estate submarkets that are shaping the Town of Wake Forest and the Northeast Community. Where possible, data that is specific to the study area was obtained and analyzed, but in most cases, the secondary data obtained for this analysis represent larger submarkets that overlap with the study area. The purpose of this analysis is to understand the market context with regard to future changes that might occur in the Northeast Community and how existing trends have the potential to impact the area – both positively and negatively. Similar to the Demographic and Housing Analysis section, the study area was compared in its larger context whenever possible, whether that be a larger submarket or the Town of Wake Forest as a whole. This section includes an analysis of the following market segments: (1) ownership housing, (2) multi-family rental housing, (3) retail, (4) office and (5) industrial flex. Industrial flex is a special category of industrial use that combine production, assembly and warehousing with office and showroom/ retail space, depending on the operation. It is the type of space typically occupied by operations such as small manufacturers, brewers, artists, auto shops, and cabinet makers, as examples. Major findings, key issues, as well as implications of the findings are included in this section. For additional real estate market data and analysis, please refer to Chapter 4: Appendix.

Town of Wake Forest is experiencing an active development market, the Northeast Community has seen less development interest. There is

currently a 14-home subdivision being constructed on Perry Street. Growing development momentum over the past decade in Wake Forest could impact the Northeast Community. Traditions, a residential community, is adjacent to the Northeast Community and is adding hundreds of new households to this part of town. • Retail Market has Capacity for Growth – The analysis determined that there is the potential for millions of dollars in retail spending annually that can be recaptured within or adjacent to the Northeast Community. This translates into approximately 58,500 square feet of retail space in the study area. While not all of this retail space is adequate to attract new businesses it may create opportunities for existing establishments to expand their businesses. As the three mile radius of the study area is being supplied with retail, any considerations for the neighborhood should be targeted to specific needs and gaps in service. There are shopping needs in the Northeast Community that are going unmet. Retail categories that could support more building square footage include: furniture stores (8,821 SF) and home furnishing stores (3,340 SF). Drinking

MAJOR FINDINGS • Northeast Community Primarily

housing development – only 15.7% (81 properties) of the residential properties have been developed over the past 20 years. By way of comparison, almost 73% of the Town’s 13,320 residential properties have been developed since

Consists of Single-Family Homes, but is More Diverse than the Town Housing Stock – Roughly 88% of all residential properties in the study area are single-family homes, with only 6.2% mobile homes and 5.4% duplexes. Surprisingly, this is more diverse than

2000, which is 4.6 times the rate of the study area. Most of this new development consists of primarily single-family homes. • Northeast Community’s Small

the Town’s residential base, which consists of nearly 98% single-family home properties. • Northeast Community Lacks Momentum for New Housing Development – Since 2000, the study area has seen very little new

Housing Size and Older Homes are Contributing to Affordability - The age of the study area housing and its relative size (half the average size of the Town’s housing) leads to greater

Chapter 1: Existing Conditions

Northeast Community Plan





Issue 4 The Northeast Community is made up of many smaller single-family homes, with a large percentage built before 1980. The older housing stock will need reinvestment over time to keep this affordably priced housing supply habitable in the future. In response, the Town of Wake Forest Planning Department is embarking on an Affordable Housing Plan in 2021-2022. This plan will examine Wake Forest’s existing housing situation within the region, identify housing needs, and develop strategies on how best to address those needs.


needs addressed by community residents through this planning process. • Market Factors – The DuBois Campus property is envisioned as a mix of uses, built around a core educational mission and a museum commemorating the history of the site. In addition, the property could house job training, day care, recreational facilities, community meeting and activity space, and housing. • Opportunity – There is an opportunity to create a partnerships involving the DuBois Alumni Association with a public entity (local, state, federal government), Non-profit Organization, Non-Profit service provider and/or nonprofit housing developer. Issue 3 The Northeast Community as a whole has expressed the need to have more commercial shopping opportunities and jobs for area residents. While the study area is largely a single-family neighborhood, the area around the intersection of N. White Street and E. Roosevelt Avenue offers a significant commercial mixed-use redevelopment opportunity.

establishment or bars is the largest category at 9,420 SF, which is consistent with a revitalizing downtown center. Other miscellaneous merchandise stores (8,543 SF), other miscellaneous store retailers (8,643 SF) clothing stores (7,103 SF), books & periodical & music stores (3,465 SF) are some of the other store types.

Data Sources Study area data was obtained from the Wake County Property Assessor’s Department in 2020. The data includes all property assessment information on each property in the Northeast Community, including land and building assessed values, building square footage, age structure built and other relevant property information. Real estate sales information was obtained from Redfin, a national residential brokerage company that reports Multiple Listing Service (MLS) home sales data. REIS/Moody’s Analytics is a data analytics firm that provides real estate market trend data throughout the U.S. in all major metropolitan markets. They track historical activity in a variety of market segments (e.g., multi-family, retail, office, senior housing, industrial, etc.) for such metrics as building space inventory changes, asking rents, vacancy rates and annual absorption. Finally, ESRI data was used to analyze the local retail supply and demand spending from households in the Northeast Community study area.


Issue 1 The Northeast Community does not

currently offer many multi-family housing options such as apartment buildings, which are typically rented by people who are not ready for, or interested in, homeownership. • Market Factors – The Raleigh-Durham MSA has a shortage of affordable housing. Various affordable housing developers are looking for land, on which to build affordable single-family homes and apartment communities. The Northeast Community has the potential to help meet that need in the Town of Wake Forest. • Opportunity – Rental housing would offer options for younger singles, couples, young families and offer “step-down” housing for empty- nesters. The Northeast Community can accommodate new affordable and mixed-income housing at several locations, including the DuBois Campus property and at the corner of N. White and E. Roosevelt Street, between N. Taylor Street and E. Spring Street. Issue 2 The DuBois Campus property is the largest single redevelopment opportunity in the Northeast Community. The future of this property can potentially meet a lot of the

• Market Factors – The market for

affordable housing is very strong in the Raleigh-Durham region and naturally occurring affordable housing is a rare and declining resource. In order to retain this housing supply in the Northeast Community, homeowners will require low interest loans and grants to renovate housing to make them safe and modernize them. • Opportunity – The Town of Wake Forest,

through its Planning Department, has an opportunity to offer a multi- year housing rehabilitation program, targeting low- and moderate-income homeowners.

• Market Factors – A mixed-income

residential development with additional commercial development would expand downtown across E. Roosevelt to E. Spring Street and down to N. Taylor. The area has some active commercial establishments that could be incorporated into the redevelopment and other space that is currently vacant.

IMPLICATIONS OF FINDINGS The real estate market findings indicate that the Northeast Community has various opportunities for new residential and commercial mixed-use development but in limited locations. Residential rehabilitation is needed throughout the community to upgrade the existing housing supply, to modernize interiors, and to ensure that life safety issues are addressed. This can be accomplished through a targeted neighborhood rehabilitation program. The construction of new affordable and mixed income housing is also in demand and could be introduced at a portion of the DuBois Campus property; primarily to northside currently occupied by the Wake County Public School System. Finally, an opportunity to do a mixed-use commercial redevelopment near the corner of N. White Street and E. Roosevelt Street could expand the size of downtown Wake Forest by several blocks. Higher density multi-family housing should be a core element of this redevelopment with a mixture of affordable and market rate units.

• Opportunity – The Town of Wake Forest and the City of Raleigh may

have to work with developers to make infrastructure investments in this area.

Chapter 1: Existing Conditions

Northeast Community Plan







EXISTINGPLANS ANDRELEVANT RECOMMENDATIONS The evolution of the Northeast Community, specifically in recent years, has been assisted through the strategic implementation efforts of recommendations emerging from past plans and studies. The current planning process builds on the existing plans by consolidating many of the relevant recommendations (as shown below), many of which are still being either evaluated or are in the process of being implemented. 1.F

improvements along streets including new crosswalks, lighting, and sidewalks to facilitate walking in and around the Northeast Community. • Provide new opportunities for commercial development in the Northeast. • Provide resources for homeowners,

and increased awareness of relevant housing assistance

programs, home improvement resources, and relevant town ordinances including nuisance, trash, and recycling programs. • Build community capital through community events, clean up days, job training programs, youth and senior programs, and community organizations. • Increase transit options in the neighborhood, including those connecting to employment centers and surrounding neighborhoods, and provide affordable transportation programs for youth and seniors. • Prepare guidelines to address the design of new buildings and homes.


The following plans and documents were reviewed as part of this study: 1. Northeast Neighborhood Plan (2007) 2. Wake Forest Community Plan (2009) 3. Wake Forest Historic Preservation Plan (2012) 4. Parks, Recreation, & Cultural Resources Master Plan (2015) 5. Renaissance Plan for Downtown Wake Forest (2017) 6. Comprehensive Transportation Plan (2019)

While all of these plans included the Northeast Community, in some form, only the Northeast Neighborhood Plan from 2007 was developed for the sole purpose of planning the future development and growth of the Northeast Community.


The 2007 Northeast Neighborhood Plan outlined a strategy to enhance the social, cultural, and historic character of the Northeast by identifying the following needed public services, desired physical improvements, and economic development opportunities for the neighborhood. Following are the relevant recommendations: • Implement traffic calming elements

throughout the neighborhood and install/ updated physical

Chapter 1: Existing Conditions

Northeast Community Plan



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