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Baptist State Convention sells Hillsborough St. modernist building

The same developer that's building the five-story Friendly Apartments next to Stanhope on Hillsborough Street has bought another prominent property across from the N.C. State University campus from the Baptist State Convention.

An affiliate of Blue Sky Development Services of Raleigh has paid $860,000 for the 6,000-square-foot Baptist Student Center building at 2702 Hillsborough St., according to county records. The modernist-style building at the intersection of Gardner Street dates back to 1964.

Blue Sky’s Nikitz Zhitov, reached by phone on Wednesday while he was touring the building for the first time since the acquisition, says the plan is to find a tenant or group of tenants to lease the building on a short-term basis for the next couple of years.

“We’ll lease it out while we put our plans together, and then we’re looking at doing something like we are doing at Friendly Apartments,” he says.

At Friendly, the five-story apartment building will have 16 units with beds for 49 residents, plus about 3,800 square feet of retail space.

Donna Perez, spokeswoman for Blue Sky Development Services, says that the company also has a few other parcels between the 2000 and 3000 blocks of Hillsborough Street under contract and in planning stages for more mixed-use development of student housing.

As for the Baptist-affiliated student meetings and services that were being held at the Baptist Student Center, Zhitov says there were three campus groups that had been using the space for meetings but that the building was largely underutilized. The groups, he says, have instead found other places on campus to continue to meet.

Blue Sky principal David Medvetz says the timing of the new construction project on the site of the Baptist Student Center will depend a lot on the timing of completion of the Hillsborough Street streets cape revitalization plan, which is expected to disrupt traffic and commerce.

"We have to be careful how we time our projects in light of the upcoming Phase II Hillsborough Street redevelopment,” Medvetz says. The City of Raleigh completed the first phase of Hillsborough Streetscape revitalization plan in 2010, and phase II construction is expected to begin in March.

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