LeVelle Moton draws on lessons from his mother, grandmother to promote new Raleigh housing project

Sean Coffey Image
Friday, February 23, 2024
LeVelle Moton draws on Raleigh roots to promote homeownership
"I just wanted to make the world a better place because I was here," Moton said about his role in this latest housing development project.

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- There's a development in Southeast Raleigh with a very special history and purpose.

The Cottages of Idlewild will soon be Raleigh's first cottage court development. Cottage court developments are clusters of small housing structures around a central court that's visible from the street. It's the type of development that's been backed by supporters of the missing middle in Raleigh for some time.

But The Cottages of Idlewild has another purpose, too. Backed by Raleigh Raised Development, and one of its co-founders, LeVelle Moton, the project seeks to build a new generation of Black homeownership in a historically Black part of the city.

In a sit down with ABC11, Moton said he drew inspiration from his mother and grandmother.

"She told me, she said, 'Listen, I want you to understand. I'm like the two most important days of your life, the day that you're born and the day you figure out why,'" Moton said of his late grandmother, Mattie McDougald.

Mattie, and LeVelle's mother, Hattie, are already memorialized outside LeVelle Moton Park, across the street from this proposed development. Now, they're the spirit behind Moton's latest effort, which coincidentally will stand in the now-vacant lot where Mattie McDougald's house used to be.

"For this project to be her exact home, I just think is God's way of sending me back as a messenger and a vessel to help enhance the quality of life for everyone in that community, in the spirit of what she would have done," Moton said.

The hope with the project is to provide homeownership opportunities -- and with it, stability -- to lower-income families for years to come. The project recently received $700,000 in gap financing from the city after an emotional address from Moton to the city council.

"Seeing these parents have an opportunity to have home ownership, I know the morale of that community is going to be lifted," Moton said. "Because they can feel like somebody. They can feel like they achieved part of the American dream. And that's what it was always about."

It's a dream more than a century in the making. The land The Cottages of Idlewild will soon inhabit was one of the first parcels in Raleigh made available for purchase for freed slaves after the Civil War.

For a man used to winning on the court, this project represents a different type of victory.

"That's important. But, you know, just being able to touch a human life -- I just wanted to make the world a better place because I was here," said Moton.

Raleigh Raised Development, which includes Moton and his two co-founders Terrell Midgett and CJ Mann, pay largely out of pocket for their projects in the city. They say ground will break on The Cottages of Idlewild in May or June of this year, with the complex's first families moving in as soon as 2025.


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