Grosvenor Gardens Apartments is perhaps the best articulated example of a garden apartment complex in Raleigh. The U-shaped building is one of four apartment facilities erected in the city between 1934 and 1939, and one of three built between the 800 and 1100 blocks of Hillsborough Street, a main thoroughfare leading to the State Capitol. The builder of the complex, New Jersey developer Sidney J. Wollman, first visited Raleigh in 1937. He found the city in the midst of a construction boom, but facing an acute housing shortage. Coincidentally, owners of the old Boylan and Cameron estates just west of downtown were selling off undeveloped parcels. Wollman acquired a 1.73 acre tract and hired local architect James Edwards, Jr., to design a brick Georgian Revival style building. The complex of 58 studio units was painted white and named for the Grosvenor Hotel in London, which Wollman had visited in the 1920s.
Like the other apartment complexes nearby, Grosvenor Gardens displays the innovative features pioneered by Clarence Stein and Henry Wright’s celebrated Radburn, New Jersey, community of 1928-1929. Its features include buildings arranged to maximize natural lighting, outdoor play areas for children and an absence of through streets. What set Grosvenor Gardens apart, however, was the careful attention paid to landscaping. Developer Wollman hired a landscape architect to design a year-round garden and invested $10,000 on the selection and siting of plants. Today, the carefully maintained mature landscaping enhances this historic garden apartment complex. The Grosvenor Gardens Apartments are a designated Raleigh Historic Landmark.
Grosvenor Gardens Apartments are located at 1101 Hillsborough St. The property continues to operate as private apartments, and is not open to the public.
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