Former Rock Hill city manager now a real estate developer

Former Rock Hill City Manager Russell Allen has formed a real estate investment and development company in Raleigh.

After eight years as city manager, Allen left Rock Hill in 2001 to take the same position in Raleigh.

Since being fired by the Raleigh City Council in 2013, he and his twin brother, Craig Allen, have formed Allen Ventures, a development group that has filed plans to build two condominium buildings near downtown Raleigh.

Allen, who oversaw Raleigh’s government for 12 years, said this week that the company is focusing on urban-style projects in the downtown area.

“I decided I really wanted to stay in Raleigh rather than move to another place as a city manager,” he said. “I always had great respect for what the private sector development community has done here ... always enjoyed that part of the business.”

The condo projects would be built side-by-side on the north side of New Bern Avenue, on vacant land that is between East and Swain streets. Allen Ventures acquired the land, which includes five separate parcels, in 2014.

The company is partnering with Five Horizons Development on the project. Raleigh-based Five Horizons has built a number of single-family homes in the downtown area.

Allen said the 3-story condos will each have 2 bedrooms and 2.5 bathrooms, with a single-car garage on the first floor. Pricing for the units has not been decided, but Allen said they would likely be under $400,000.

This is the second downtown project for Allen Ventures. The company earlier bought and renovated a house in East Raleigh on Freeman Street, which it sold in January. The company hopes to begin construction of the New Bern condos this summer.

Allen said he’s purposely tried to keep a low profile in his new role, given his previous role.

“I’ve tried not to be the principal out-front partner,” he said.