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…]
Doherty Heights

Using a Redevelopment Area to Attract Private Investment

The neighborhood of Doherty Heights has seen better days. Once a vibrant residential neighborhood [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 |

  • The Right Crowd: How Two Entrepreneurs Creatively Financed a Craft Brewery in Asheboro, NC


    The South Fayetteville Street building prior to renovation by Four Saints Brewing Company.

    A previous CED blog post analyzed securities law as it relates to crowdfunding, in which businesses use mass marketing and web-based platforms to raise investment capital from many investors in small amounts, with each investor becoming a share owner in the business. Another post described a different form of crowdfunding – a method of online fundraising in which many people, often each making small cash gifts or making advance purchases, collectively support a business, product, nonprofit, or cause without actually owning any shares or expecting an investment return.  This post describes an example of the latter form of crowdfunding and will describe how Asheboro-based Four Saints Brewing Company used crowdfunding to find startup capital and ultimately attract debt financing for a craft brewery and tasting room it hoped to open in a historic downtown building. It will then discuss three lessons that the Four Saints case can teach entrepreneurs and community economic development practitioners considering crowdfunding. Read more »

  • Do Your Local Economic Development Plans Depend on the Middle Class … in China?

    Globe - ChinaThe Association for Public Policy and Management (APPAM) recently held an international conference in Segovia, Spain around the theme “The Decline of the Middle Class?” The question mark at the end was intentional. Originally, the conference was titled “The Decline of the Middle Class in the Developed World” but it had changed by the time the conference took place, presumably because of the research presenters were bringing to the table.

    In western nations, especially in the United States, the position of middle class households has deteriorated significantly through the recession and there is little sign of improvement. However, from a global perspective, the middle class is expanding, serving as a spur to economic growth, especially in India, Indonesia and China. The result was a different type of conversation around prospects for economic development, one driven by increasing global trade and ties. Yes, the middle class is declining in the U.S., but from a global perspective, the middle class is on an up-swing. How can local CED professionals make sense of this mixed message? Read more »

  • Downtown Parks as Economic Development

    centercityparkDowntown revitalization takes many forms, and for some cities downtown parks are a major catalyst for redevelopment. From New York’s Central Park to Greensboro’s Central City Park, parks have not only provided open green space for recreation and community gatherings, but have also fostered interest from private developers in adjacent properties. Read more »

  • Crowdfunding for Development: A Primer on Federal and North Carolina Securities Law

    CrowdSecurities laws rarely provide the introductory hook writers dream about, but they do represent a substantial challenge that many real estate developers must address. Over the last two years, the United States Congress and North Carolina State House each proposed crowdfunding legislation that lessens the regulatory burden for small-dollar securities offerings. The federal Jumpstart Our Business Startups Act (federal JOBS Act) and North Carolina Jumpstart Our Business Start-Ups Act (NC JOBS Act) are designed to assist startup companies and small businesses; however, real estate professionals and economic development managers should also be aware of the new fundraising tools now at their disposal. This post outlines how existing federal and state securities laws are modified by crowdfunding legislation, beginning first with an overview of the existing securities laws, and followed by a deeper dive into each of the federal and state law changes. Read more »

  • Measuring Sprawl: How do North Carolina metros measure up?

    measuring-sprawl-thumb“Sprawl” is a word that comes up frequently in reference to the built environment in North Carolina. But what do we mean when we refer to sprawl? And is sprawl really “worse” here than in other parts of the Southeast, or of the country? A new report from Smart Growth America (SGA), a national non-profit that advocates for livable communities, provides a set of a quantitative measures of sprawl as well as a ranking of how each of the 221 largest U.S. metro areas perform on these measures. The report, Measuring Sprawl 2014, updates SGA’s landmark 2002 study on the costs and benefits of sprawl and its impact on communities. Read more »

  • Affordable Housing: A Look at Programs in two of North Carolina’s Fastest Growing Cities

    houseSummer 2014 saw increased attention paid to the issue of housing affordability in America with reports by Harvard’s Joint Center for Housing Studies, the National Low Income Housing Coalition (NLIHC) and the New York Times highlighting the squeeze low and middle income households face from ever-increasing housing costs and sluggish wage growth. This coincided with the unveiling of New York City Mayor Bill De Blasio’s ambitious and critically acclaimed Housing New York plan in May, calling for a $41 billion investment to supply 200,000 new and preserved affordable housing units across New York City’s Five Boroughs. The plan achieves these goals through an aggressive inclusionary zoning program and other policies to address housing inequality in one of the nation’s most expensive cities. This renewed attention to the issue of housing affordability prompts a review of inclusionary zoning as a tool to promote affordable housing and an assessment of current programs in development in two of North Carolina’s largest and fastest growing cities, Charlotte and Raleigh.  Read more »

  • What @sog_ced is reading on the web: September 2014

    CED_Icon_for_Twitter1The 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.

    North Carolina’s new Economic Development Partnership:

    North Carolina’s new Economic Development Partnership sets a launch date for early October: ‪ 

    State’s first public-private economic development agency to locate its headquarters in Cary: ‪ 

    Article summarizing the “unknowns” of the new NC Economic Development Partnership: ‪ 

    UNC School of Government’s Tyler Mulligan provides an overview on the state’s new economic development agency:

    Items of interest related to CED in North Carolina:

    Governor McCrory announces a new $4.5 billion natural gas line extension for Cape Fear region and calls it “the biggest economic development announcement for eastern North Carolina in decades”. ‪ 

    City of Wilmington defines microbreweries in its new land development code to make it easier for craft beer entrepreneurs to enter the market: ‪

    North Carolina’s state incentives fail to lure Toyota to the state, Toyota picks Texas instead despite an incentive package that is Read more »

  • Foreign Investment in North Carolina business attraction is in the news this week, with North Carolina Department of Commerce Secretary Sharon Decker returning from a recruitment trip to Japan aimed at bringing an automaker or other manufacturer to build a new plant in North Carolina. As part of this effort, the state has already assembled and readied three potential manufacturing sites, all at least 1,200 acres in size, to market to potential firms.

    In an ever-increasing globalized world, foreign direct investment (FDI) plays an important role in economic development efforts for local and state governments. Previous blog posts have covered the basics of FDI and marketing efforts to international firms. This post will look at data exploring the current state of foreign investment and foreign owned enterprises (FOEs) in North Carolina and patterns of FDI investment through clustering. Understanding the impact of foreign direct investment and how it takes shape from region to region can help better prepare local governments to take advantage of FDI opportunities.  Read more »

  • New Tool Helps Communities Assess the Affordability of Services

    When the five small water systems in Hampton County, South Carolina decided to band together to create the Lowcountry Regional Water System (LRWS), they, like many other small water systems across the country, faced a number of managerial and financial obstacles. Among these challenges were a flat growth rate, degraded and inadequate infrastructure, artificially low rates, and an economically disadvantaged population. Each of the five communities in this rural county charged vastly different amounts for their service, with monthly rates for 5,000 gallons of water and sewer ranging from as low as $36.50 to as high as $62.67. Whether the rates of the new, regionalized water system were “affordable” for all customers became a top concern for the LRWS. Read more »

  • Development Finance Initiative (DFI) helps revitalize NC towns – University Gazette

    This article was originally published in the University Gazette on September 9, 2014, as “Carolina program helps revitalize NC towns.” It is republished here with permission.

    Tyler Mulligan leads a class for public officials at the School of Government.

    Tyler Mulligan leads a class for public officials at the School of Government.

    They call them “wicked problems,” the complicated, long-term, seemingly impossible, hard-to-wrap-your-head-around issues for which solutions seem far away.

    The team involved in the School of Government’s Development Finance Initiative (DFI) specializes in them, and they’re teaching students how to tackle them, too.

    DFI partners with local governments across the state to attract the private investments they need to revitalize their communities. Community revitalization is one of those “wicked problems” said Tyler Mulligan, who teaches both public officials and graduate students about community development, finance and revitalization.

    “You don’t always know from the start how you’re going to make it work, and that can be daunting,” said Mulligan.

    DFI itself was borne from a perplexing problem: Local government officials often asked Mulligan to visit their towns and assist them with their communities’ needs. But, he couldn’t do it on his own.

    “It’s part of my job to advise these officials and answer their calls and emails when they need me, but I couldn’t provide intensive assistance to every community, and the challenges they face require a multi-disciplinary approach,” he said. “It soon became clear that a team of professionals was needed to answer the call for assistance.”

    The demand was undeniable. Downtown streets were in desperate need of revitalization, historic buildings were wearing away with neglect and prime parcels of land sat empty without a purpose in many of North Carolina’s towns. Read more »

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