Development Finance Initiative

The Development Finance Initiative (DFI) at the UNC School of Government assists local governments with attracting private investment for transformative projects by providing specialized finance and development expertise. DFI partners with communities on projects including building reuse, community development, downtown revitalization, economic development, neighborhood redevelopment, and small business finance. Click here for DFI contact information.

Recent Posts |

  • DFI Case Study: Attracting Private Investment for the Redevelopment of a Downtown Parking Deck

    The City of Wilmington, North Carolina, hired the Development Finance Initiative (DFI) in 2013 to conduct a pre-development process for the Water Street Parking Deck. The parking deck is an aging public parking facility prominently located in the city’s historic downtown on the Cape Fear riverfront. Wilmington is one [more…]

  • 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 North Carolina one town at a time.” It is reprinted here with permission. Towns across North Carolina are attracting investment and rejuvenating historic properties with the help of the University of North Carolina School of [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. 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 [more…]

  • 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 welcoming places—and as drivers of the new American economy—they must be able to repurpose their vacant, abandoned and foreclosed properties. Those properties—whether the product of the current foreclosure crisis or the remnants of the old [more…]

  • When May NC Local Governments Pay an Economic Development Incentive?

    News outlets regularly report about the latest company that was lured to North Carolina through the payment of a cash economic development incentive by a local government and the state. Local government cash incentives often take the form of an annual cash payment to a company that is contingent [more…]

  • Development Finance Initiative (DFI) featured in Coates Connection

    The following article appeared in the Fall 2013 issue of Coates Connection: Development Finance Initiative Helps Communities Secure Funding for Economic Development Projects

  • Mezzanine Financing in Community Economic Development

    Mezzanine financing, or mezz debt, can play a critical role in the funding of a community economic development project and has other advantages discussed in this post, but what exactly is it, and how does it work? Financing the renovation of historic buildings is far more complicated than new [more…]

  • Small Business Access to Capital (Part IV): Funding Sources to Capitalize Revolving Loan Funds

    Funding sources to capitalize revolving loan funds is the fourth topic in a series on tools local governments can use to assist small businesses. As discussed in Part II of this blog post series, local governments across North Carolina are using revolving loan funds to support their small businesses [more…].

  • Small Business Access to Capital (Part II): Revolving Loan Funds

    Small business success is one of the cornerstones to the vitality of our communities. A variety of tools are available to local governments interested in supporting their small businesses. In this continuing series of blog posts about how local governments can assist small businesses, we will review common tools [more…]

  • Federal grant funds for redevelopment: Overcoming challenges with “security” and cash flow

    The STARworks Center for Creative Enterprise is located in Star, North Carolina. The organization is a product of the Central Park North Carolina Regional Partnership, a non-profit partnership between seven counties in the south-central region of North Carolina. The mission of both STARworks and Central Park is to support [more…]

  • Using a Redevelopment Area to Attract Private Investment

    The neighborhood of Doherty Heights has seen better days. Once a vibrant residential neighborhood that was home to families and retail businesses close to the downtown core, Doherty Heights is now better known for its vacant storefronts and dilapidated houses. The majority of the city’s housing code complaints come [more…]

  • Using Historic Tax Credits to Transform a Landmark

    After sitting empty for twenty odd years this abandoned department store was in need of a total transformation.  The property had a solid foundation, a beautiful facade, and held rich memories for the locals, but behind the broken/boarded up storefront was a building begging for a wrecking ball.  The [more…]

  • School of Government Grants Community Revitalization Award to Rockingham County Business & Technology Center

    Participants in the School of Government’s recent Development Finance Toolbox course, led by faculty member Tyler Mulligan, received more than training in economic development finance. This year’s participants were invited to submit project proposals for a community revitalization award of 30 days of intensive project support from a team [more…]

  • Local government assistance for a real estate development project—without making a grant

    Al Czervik is a real estate developer who has invested in several shopping malls and mixed-use developments across the Tar Heel state. He is planning a mixed use development called “Gopher Commons” in your community, but “in order to make the numbers work,” he claims that he needs local [more…]

  • Housing Assessment in Kinston, NC

    The Development Finance Initiative (DFI) and the Kenan Institute at UNC have teamed up to prepare a comprehensive housing assessment for the City of Kinston. The housing assessment, which combines public records with qualitative data collected through an on-the-ground property survey, will provide City leaders with detailed information on [more…]

  • What services are available from DFI?

    DFI services support implementation of local community and economic development priorities that require private investment. DFI can be thought of as an extension of a local government’s finance, planning, economic and community development departments. DFI services include: Real estate finance and structuring, including identification of investors, lenders, tax credit [more…]

  • What development finance tools can DFI help our community to implement?

    The DFI team’s experience touches on a broad range of development finance tools that are designed to attract private investment into local community and economic development projects including: targeted financing/incentive programs (Tax Increment Financing (TIF), Business Improvement Districts (BIDs)) tax credit financing (historic preservation, new markets, brown fields, low-income [more…]

  • How to get DFI engaged in our community?

    DFI is a fee-based service of the School of Government. Costs for smaller towns and economically-distressed communities may be subsidized by third party partners. Assistance is available on an ongoing or project by project basis depending on the needs of the community. For more information, contact Will Lambe at [more…]