Kinston, NC

Development Finance Initiative: Rebuilding North Carolina one town at a time – Southern City

This article was originally published in the November/December edition of Southern City, as “Rebuilding [more…]
Aerial downtown

How a North Carolina Local Government Can Operate a Land Bank for Redevelopment

If America’s cities and towns are to realize their greatest potential as attractive and [more…]
Shell building under construction 2

When May NC Local Governments Pay an Economic Development Incentive?

News outlets regularly report about the latest company that was lured to North Carolina [more…]
maureen joy

Historic School Redevelopment (Durham, NC)

Yesterday, Sept 4th, community leaders, elected officials, school administrators and a team from Self-Help [more…]

The Community and Economic Development program at the School of Government provides public officials with training, research, and assistance that support local efforts to create jobs and wealth, expand the tax base, and maintain vibrant communities. We deploy the resources of the University to support the development goals of communities in North Carolina.

Recent Blog Posts |

  • Redevelopment Case Studies of Victorian-Era Psychiatric Facilities

    danvers4Earlier this month, a post on CED in NC provided an overview of the redevelopment of Victorian-era psychiatric facilities.  Many historic psychiatric institutions throughout the country have closed, leaving large, architecturally significant buildings on vast campuses behind. The redevelopment of these facilities generally requires public-private partnerships, non-traditional financing, and creative programming. To illustrate the variety of opportunities that cities and towns have pursued with former psychiatric facilities, here are three projects that have tackled these challenges in different ways.  Read more »

  • Partnership Potential Between Water Utilities and Their Non-Residential Customers

    What happens if your largest water customer moves out of town? What if you suddenly need to reduce usage drastically in your service area due to an emergency – which of your customers should you call first? How has water use changed over time for your ten largest customers, and what does that mean for your bottom line? What other changes have happened with your commercial customers, and are those changes systemic or temporary? Understanding how a utility’s non-residential customers use water can help answer these questions and can provide critical information to utility managers in assessing their water resources and financial stability into the future.

    Read more »

  • Leasing Historic Tax Credit Property to Local Governments: Disqualified Lease Rules

    O'Neil Building in Kinston, NCPrevious blog posts have looked at how communities can redevelop historic properties through the creation of public-private partnerships as well as how IRS rules affect the allocation of historic rehabilitation tax credits to investors in redevelopment projects. This blog post explores what happens when properties utilizing federal historic tax credits seek to lease space to local governments and other tax-exempt tenants.

    The Case of Emerald City

    Tina Woodman, a longtime community member, has approached the city manager of Emerald City, Dora Gale, about possibly redeveloping an historic downtown building. Woodman has a heart for the city and hopes that she can contribute to the downtown’s nascent revitalization through redeveloping the property from an eyesore into a beautiful, productive building. She knows that this will be a challenging project, but believes that with the use of historic rehabilitation tax credit equity and a stable tenant, this project could succeed and, importantly, catalyze further redevelopment. A few years ago she redeveloped another historic building and benefited from both federal and state historic tax credits, which saved her almost 30 percent on the project costs, and made an otherwise infeasible project successful.

    Woodman asks Manager Gale if Emerald City would be interested in leasing space in the redeveloped building as municipal offices. It is no secret that the City has outgrown its office space, and its participation would likely improve the project’s ability to attract other investors. Gale is excited about the possibility of moving some of the municipal offices into a building with ties to the city’s storied past.  Read more »

  • Special Property Tax Rules for Affordable Housing

    Housing in a Community Land TrustNorth Carolina law offers a variety of exemptions, exclusions, and appraisal benefits for property used to provide housing for low- or moderate-income residents. Here is a quick summary of those special rules with links to the full statutes and to more-detailed blog posts on related issues. Read more »

  • Grant opportunity for local government staff to attend School of Government courses

    subjectAreaImage_1The North Carolina Department of Commerce has just announced the availability of grant funds (application deadline June 15) that will support professional development for local government professionals. The UNC-Chapel Hill School of Government is one of three universities partnering on this project, and the School has designed a Commerce Fellows training package that is composed of sought-after courses that address the breadth and depth of issues related to community and economic development. The North Carolina Department of Commerce Commerce Fellows/Building Community through Capacity and Knowledge Grant will fund tuition and lodging for eight seats in five in-person School of Government courses as well as four online training series. A detailed description of the School of Government’s training package can be found hereRead more »

  • Using Project Management Skills for Your Community Economic Development Project

    Project ManagementCommunity and economic development projects are complex projects involving staff across multiple departments and often requiring access to professionals that are entirely external to the organization. Projects can range from acquiring and redeveloping a single property, acquiring tracts of land and developing an industrial park, to revitalizing and providing services to an entire downtown. These projects, with their variations in size, stakeholders, and complexity, all share in common that they must contend with issues of scope, time, and cost. Success will undoubtedly require “project management” skills.

    The term “project management” evokes images of highly specialized private sector project professionals working in project-based industries such as engineering, power, pharmaceuticals, and tech companies. Can a project manager at a local government or nonprofit agency employ “project management” principles, too? Absolutely!

    Regardless of the organizational structure, project management has a place in all public organizations because management by projects has become a powerful way to integrate organizational functions and motivate groups to achieve higher levels of productivity and performance. This post describes the core principles for successful project management and why they are important to effective project management. Read more »

  • A Thousand Acres and Half a Million Square Feet: Redevelopment of Victorian-Era Psychiatric Facilities

    Traverse_City_State_Hospital_postcard_circa_1930Shuttered psychiatric facilities provide endless material for macabre imaginations. However, for creative communities and developers, these historic facilities also inspire ideas for uses like recreation, housing, healthcare, education, or retail. Many states built grand psychiatric facilities in the late 1800s and early 1900s in response to reform work led by Dorothea Dix, who argued that people with mental illness and disabilities should have a permanent place to live. Thomas Kirkbride, a reformist psychiatrist, inspired the designs of these campuses, most of which featured a very long, grand building with ornate architecture, set in an Arcadian landscape. This layout was known as the Kirkbride Plan. Psychiatric institutions of centuries past have a mixed history; some provided comfortable long-term residences while others were sites of terrible and chronic abuse. In recent decades, it has been recognized that most people with psychiatric conditions benefit from living in an integrated community, and institutionalization is no longer favored. As a result, many historic psychiatric institutions have consolidated and closed.

    The potential for redevelopment of closed psychiatric facility holds great appeal at first glance. The buildings were built with high quality and architectural detail. They sit on vast campuses of hundreds of acres, often in locations surrounded by urbanization that occurred since the land was set aside for the facilities. However, effective redevelopment has major challenges, some particular to Victorian era psychiatric facilities and others associated with large redevelopment projects in general. Read more »

  • Improving Higher Education’s Role in Workforce Development

    Human capital and talent are increasingly important drivers of regional competitiveness. States and localities recognize that their economic development success is inextricably linked to their ability to cultivate and develop a workforce that has the knowledge and skills required by key businesses and industries. Communities and regions must operate successfully on each side of the human capital equation by both stimulating the demand for skilled workers and ensuring that the supply of workers is sufficient to meet that demand. The goal is to create lots of good jobs and have great workers to fill them. We can find examples of promising workforce development programs in many places throughout the U.S. However, workforce development faces a number of challenges and transitions even as it becomes an indispensable part of the formula for economic development success. Read more »

  • What @sog_ced is reading on the web: April 2015

    CED_Icon_for_TwitterThe following are articles and reports on the web that the Community and Economic Development Program at the UNC School of Government shared through social media over the past month. Follow us on twitter or facebook to receive regular updates.

    Items of interest related to CED in North Carolina:

    University of New Hampshire’s Carsey School of Public Policy documents the growing income disparity among North Carolina families with children: ‪ 

    Three projects already set to tap out North Carolina’s $10 million film incentive grant program: ‪ 

    Opinion piece by Director of Good Jobs First recounts history of efforts to place limits on economic development incentives, mentions North Carolina: ‪ 

    PolicyLink report profiles (in)equitable economic growth in the Research Triangle Region: ‪ . News & Observer opinion piece on the report: ‪ 

    The newly launched, Kannapolis-based North Carolina Manufacturing Institute seeks to respond to local employers’ need for solving talent recruitment issues by supporting a skilled workforce: ‪ 

    Old Rural Center grant for utility extensions recaptured after recipient business failed to create promised jobs: ‪   Read more »

  • How much does connecting to a water and wastewater system cost?

    It varies and it depends. Need more details? It may cost as little as a few hundred dollars to connect to a rural water system in some areas of the state or $10,000 or more in other areas such as the coast or fast growing urban centers that are facing high infrastructure costs to add capacity. If $10,000 sounds excessive, consider that connection charges in certain communities in the country facing severe water supply and infrastructure challenges can run as much as $35,000 to $50,000 for a new connection. The median combined connection cost for a single family water and sewer connect charged by the 328 utilities who provide both services and were included in a connection charge survey completed last month came out to be just under $2,400.
    Read more »

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