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 |

  • CDFI Profile: The Natural Capital Investment Fund previous blog post discussed the role of Community Development Financial Institutions, or CDFIs, in North Carolina. CDFIs are typically smaller financial institutions that engage in mission-driven lending intended to expand access to capital in low-wealth and underserved communities in order to foster economic development and revitalization. CDFIs are involved in community and economic development activities in a number of ways – from Program-Related Investments to support revolving loan funds in the case of the Mary Reynolds Babcock Foundation to the expansion of affordable housing in targeted geographic areas (Charlotte-Mecklenburg Housing Partnership). This post, the first in a series of posts profiling CDFIs with links to North Carolina, will highlight the Natural Capital Investment Fund (NCIF), a CDFI focused on sustainable development. NCIF is a non-profit, 501(c)(3) affiliate of The Conservation Fund, dedicated to providing debt financing to small, natural resource-based entrepreneurs and small businesses across rural communities in the mid-Atlantic and southeastern United States.  Read more »

  • Three Headlines, Two Futures for North Carolina?

    Main Street PictureThree important headlines for economic and community development officials appeared in the past several days in the New York Times, Washington Post, and, closer to home, the News and Observer. Read more »

  • Primer on Brownfields Redevelopment

    BrownfieldsThe redevelopment of brownfield sites can be difficult. These sites, which are contaminated to some degree with harmful substances usually due to prior industrial use on the site, pose challenges to redevelopment beyond those of a typical project. However, the reuse of these sites can be a boon to economic development, as it helps to reduce the blight of empty buildings, allows for the use of existing infrastructure, and can help expand the tax base through increased property values. Brownfield properties can range from large-scale industrial factories to smaller scale commercial uses such as dry cleaners and gas stations. While there is no published list of brownfield sites in the state, the North Carolina Division of Waste Management, overseer of the North Carolina Brownfields Program, notes the total number of sites to be in the tens of thousands. Read more »

  • What are the Community Development Implications of Racial Segregation in North Carolina?

    A series of reports on the impacts of racial exclusion from the UNC Center for Civil Rights demonstrates that North Carolina’s racially segregated African American and Latino neighborhoods are more likely to suffer from inequality in living conditions related to housing, environmental justice, political representation, and equal access to education.

    The first phase of the project was the 2013 State of Exclusion report, which identified potentially excluded communities, starting with every census block that was at least 75 percent non-white, and then clustered those communities that were contiguous. This yielded nearly 3,200 clusters with a population of more than 25 people. These clusters contained an average of 400 people each – about the size of a neighborhood. The study then examined the clusters and measured and mapped the potential for inequality in five areas: environmental justice, voting rights, housing, municipal services and education.

    Of particular interest to community development professionals are the disparate impacts found in environmental justice, education, and housing. The chances that Read more »

  • Incentives as a Public Investment

    State and local governments are getting smarter about how they use financial and tax incentives to support economic development. As incentive deals face greater scrutiny, public officials can take a number of steps to ensure that they are: 1) getting the best returns on the investment of public dollars, and 2) minimizing any downside risks associated with the deals.  Read more »

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

    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:

    North Carolina Department of Commerce releases new county tier designations: 

    Update on Hillsborough’s use of Special Assessment Revenue Bonds – the only local government to-date that has used this new authority since it was authorized in 2008: 

    North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources Secretary John Skvarla moves to North Carolina Commerce Department, replaces Secretary Sharon Decker: 

    Two regional economic development partnerships, the NCEast Alliance and NC’s Northeast Alliance (NCNE) have signed a letter of intent to merge operations: . More details on the scheduled merger into the new “NCEast Alliance.”

    State Employees Credit Union (SECU) real estate division continues to invest in the rehabilitation of affordable housing – latest near Greenville NC’s Urban Redevelopment Area: 

    Chris Chung named new CEO of North Carolina’s public-private partnership for economic development: 

    One more regulatory hurdle cleared in Duke Energy deal to buy power assets from Eastern North Carolina towns: Read more »

  • Innovative Programs to End Homelessness

    NCCEHAs one of the fastest growing regions in the country, with population projections calling for as many as one million additional residents by 2040, cities in the Research Triangle face an increasing challenge to meet housing demand, specifically for those experiencing homelessness and earning very low incomes. In Durham, where the development pipeline is relatively strong, a lag in development is still felt from the 2008 credit crisis has exacerbated the issue, increasing rents and leaving those in need feeling a greater strain. This coupled with an overall decline in federal funding to support low income and homeless housing development, the city of Durham is faced with an affordable housing crisis. In response to this, graduate students from UNC Chapel Hill’s Department of City and Regional Planning partnered with advisers from Self-Help and the North Carolina Coalition to End Homelessness (NCCEH) to develop an innovative model that will make more units available to very low-income individuals and those experiencing homelessness. Still in development, this new model is informed by successful programs implemented across the country and on feedback garnered through focus groups including local housing housing experts, public sector advocates and private sector stakeholders. This blog post is intended to shed light on the current homelessness and affordable housing issues in Durham, as well as highlight innovative programs from around the country that may be successfully applied in Bull City. Read more »

  • Where to Find Data for Smart Managerial and Financial Decisions

    Ever need to know how many single-family wood-framed houses were sold in the Midwest last year? Or the latitude and longitude of every farmers market in Wisconsin that sells herbs, flowers, and soap? What about the number of planes that sat on the tarmac more than three hours this past June? Or the annual sales volume of book stores in the United States for the past 20 years?

    These might sound like crazy questions, but all of the above information is available through the federal government’s data portal houses more than 130,000 data sets that are freely available for download (and, no, that’s not a typo—more than one hundred thirty thousand data sets). These data can be invaluable resources for making smart managerial and financial decisions for our economic development, community development, and environmental services. Read more »

  • Workforce Development Dollars — Has your community cashed in?

    wdb1In North Carolina, workforce training programs are primarily delivered through the 23 local, workforce development boards or through the state’s 59 community colleges. Most economic developers will be aware of these resources but may not know some of the programs these providers offer or the creative ways training funds can be used. This post will give a brief overview of workforce development boards and community colleges in North Carolina and a glimpse of a new model that is taking root in the state.  Read more »

  • Sale of Historic Structures by NC Local Governments for Redevelopment

    Old NC MillAlmost ten years ago, in the town of Bushwood, North Carolina, the “generous” owner of the historic textile mill building just off Main Street donated the property to the town (it was difficult to maintain and the owner didn’t want to pay property taxes on it any more). The town accepted the property, hoping that it would be able to find a new private owner who would redevelop the property and retain the historic character of the building. Some potential buyers have kicked the tires on the building, but no one has made an offer. Due to the value of the land and the excellent location of the parcel, the property appraises for $300,000.

    The town recognizes that it needs to market the building more actively—and that it may need the help of experts. “Old Mills R Us,” a regional historic preservation nonprofit with a mission to preserve historic mill buildings, has a proposal for the town:

    1. The town will sell the mill to the nonprofit for one dollar.
    2. Old Mills R Us (OMRU) will market the property and sell the mill to a private developer who will redevelop the property while retaining the historic features.
    3. Rather than charging a broker fee, OMRU will simply keep the proceeds from the sale at whatever price OMRU can get.

    Can the town enter into this transaction with OMRU? Short answer: not on these terms. This post explains why and suggests some alternatives. Read more »

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