Posts on Economic Development

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  • In Vino, Veritable Impact on Tourism

    As of now, the fires that burned in Northern California’s wine region earlier this month are nearly 100% contained. It has been a dramatic, devastating scene in perhaps the most iconic region for grape-growing and wine-drinking outside of Tuscany or Bordeaux, and the impacts are, and will continue to [more…]

  • Lessons for CED from Europe: Inclusive Communities and a New City-Run Food Pantry

    The photo was eerily familiar to anyone interested in CED.  The headline from the New York Times article on September 20, just days before the German national election, read, “Merkel Says Germans ‘Never Had It Better.’ But Many Feel Left Behind.”  The accompanying photo by Gordon Welters, shown here, features

  • Economic Development Organizations Receive Top Honors for 2017

    A perpetual interest in the field of economic development is identifying “best practices” and benchmarking the “state-of-the art” with respect to promising tools, strategies, and programs.  One source for this type of information is the Excellence in Economic Development Awards competition administered by the International Economic Development Council (IEDC) [more…]

  • Courting Locally: The Economic Gardening Strategy

    It is a story as old as time. The process can be exhausting in the pursuit of “the one”, and the search can go long and far. While that old story typically refers to love, the same can be said for the relationship between places and economic development. Cities [more…]

  • Legal and Business Reasons Why Downtown Development Programs Should Involve Secured Loans—Not Grants

    Dr. Blaine Beeper is a retired hospital administrator who was recently elected to council in the Town of Bushwood. Dr. Beeper thinks he has figured out how to jumpstart revitalization of Bushwood’s historic downtown. He proposes for the Town to offer annual cash grants to any owner who redevelops [more…]

  • The Grasshoppers’ Stadium is a Homerun for Downtown Greensboro

    When the Greensboro Grasshoppers threw out their first pitch at their new stadium on April 3, 2005, it was still uncertain what the impact of the stadium would be on the greater downtown.  The Joseph M. Bryan Foundation of Greater Greensboro took a leap of faith in building the [more…]

  • An Innovation District in Downtown Durham: Will It Mean Gentrification? Not Necessarily…

    On March 16, 2017, Longfellow Real Estate Partners, in partnership with Duke University and Measurement Inc., broke ground on the first phase of new construction on the Durham Innovation District, or Durham.ID, in downtown. Durham.ID describes itself as “1.7M square feet of possibility nestled among lab rats, hipster, locavores, [more…]

  • Conveyance of property in a public-private partnership for a “downtown development project”

    Downtowns across America are experiencing a renaissance. Population growth in downtowns has outpaced growth in the broader regions in which those downtowns are located. North Carolina downtowns are likewise experiencing record growth. To capitalize on this renewed interest in downtowns, private developers and local governments are increasingly seeking to [more…]

  • New Resource on the Role of Local Elected Officials in Economic Development

    The National League of Cities (NLC) recently released a guide to help local elected leaders better understand economic development and their role in the process.  Produced in partnership with the International Economic Development Council (IEDC), What You Should Know 2.0: Elected Leaders and Economic Development, updates an earlier guide [more…]

  • The State of Technology in North Carolina

    The North Carolina Technology Association (NCTA) recently published the 2017 State of the Technology Industry Report providing interested stakeholders an in-depth review of North Carolina’s technology industry. The following blog post will provide a snapshot of the report that is available for download on NCTA’s site here. The tech [more…]

  • One City, Two Public Markets: Case Studies of Success and Failure in Portland, Maine

    Public Markets are often used as a tool in downtown revitalization. They are attractive uses for vacant building with large footprints and bring high value and high-demand local food options to consumers, drive foot traffic, and catalyze new development. In the last 20 years, Portland, Maine, has seen two [more…]

  • Current Positive Economic News? Cheer, Then Take a Breath and Look Deeper at the Divided NC Economy

    There have been numerous national reports of positive economic information over the past six months. Unemployment is low, economic growth is steady and even growing, jobs are being created and 10 years later, we are finally moving beyond the devastating impacts of the recession. It would appear that CED [more…]

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    North Carolina Education and Workforce Development Part II: The North Carolina Community College System

    The first post in this CED blog series on education and workforce development in North Carolina elaborated on Work Ready Communities. Part II examines opportunities for workforce development within the North Carolina Community College System. Improving pathways to higher education is a key component in workforce development. Businesses desire [more…]

  • The Power of Partnership: The Case of the NC Commerce Park in Alamance County

    The N.C. Commerce Park in Alamance County, North Carolina is an economic development success story that underscores how vital interlocal and regional collaboration is for community and economic development. It highlights the power of partnership and also the importance of local leaders that share a collaborative mindset.

  • The Past, Present, and Future of Wood Construction

    Did you know that the world’s oldest wooden structure is found in Japan, the Horyu Temple, and has managed to withstand rain, wind, and earthquakes for over 1,300 years? Although wood construction dates all the way back to Stone Age! For thousands of years’ humans have relied on wood [more…]

  • Historic Mill Redevelopment: Taylors Mill

    In this post, CED will continue to look at the impact that redevelopment of historic mills can have on local communities. In previous posts the CED blog examined how historic tax credits can help finance adaptive reuse projects like the Renfro Mill and Monroe Hardware Warehouse. This post will take a closer look [more…]

  • North Carolina Education and Workforce Development: Work Ready Communities

    A powerful common denominator between economic development and human capital development is education. Communities with well-regarded schools incentivize businesses to be recruited to an area to make use of local talent. It is a cycle in which the economic vitality of an area is contingent upon the strength of [more…]

  • Brewery Incubators On the Rise

    The CED Blog has previously covered the economic development power of breweries to revitalize downtown Main Streets. And the blog recently detailed the utility and potential of retail incubators in helping aspiring entrepreneurs launch a business and establish a physical store location. And now, something new is brewing that [more…]

  • Flexible Opportunities in North Carolina’s Brownfields Program

    In the past the CED blog has explored the basics of brownfields programs in North Carolina, how they are administered and implemented, and their role in revitalizing communities. In this edition, we’re looking at two innovative facets of the state Brownfield’s program that were developed to better respond to [more…]

  • Retail Incubators and Main Street Revitalization: Part II

    In Part I of this post, the CED blog introduced retail incubators and a program-based model that provides financial, educational and networking support for retail start-ups transitioning to brick-and-mortar stores. In Part II, CED examines the space-based model. Space-based retail incubators allow retailers to occupy shared, tiny or temporary stores in [more…]

  • EPA Resources on Smart Growth Economic Development

    Many small towns and rural areas had an economy that was built on a single economic sector (for example, logging, mining, or manufacturing) that has changed significantly by technology and/or market forces, leaving residents without jobs and governments without a healthy tax base.  Some communities respond with an economic [more…]

  • Equity and Economic Development: What’s the Connection?

    There is a renewed interest among many public officials in figuring out how to address intractable economic inequities that continue to exist in the U.S.   In response, the UNC School of Government’s Public Executive Leadership Academy (PELA) now includes a session on equitable growth and development, which I co-teach [more…]

  • Retail Incubators and Main Street Revitalization: Part 1

    Launching a retail business in a downtown storefront is a capital and knowledge intensive endeavor. Equally, Main Streets across North Carolina and the country are struggling to retain and attract vendors, with each new empty window display threatening the economic health of the street as a whole. In this [more…]

  • Mapping North Carolina’s Local Food Infrastructure

    Strengthening local food economies can be viewed as an important part of a holistic approach to community development. Local food can be a positive contributor to social capital, public health, environmental preservation, and overall quality of life. It also can be an important component of local economic development. In [more…]

  • Is Your Local Community Partner Ready To Go?

    In July 2013, I wrote a blog proposing a four-part framework for understanding if specific local organizations have the capacity to implement CED programs. How well does this framework hold up when actually used?  We answer this question using interviews with 31 local partners, over the past two years [more…]

  • USDA Programs Boosting Access to Local, Fresh Foods Across North Carolina

    The role of local food systems in supporting community and economic development is a topic that has received significant coverage on the CED blog. Blog contributor and SOG faculty member Rick Morse has covered this topic extensively on this blog, sharing strategies to promote local food initiatives, including resources [more…]

  • The Future of Parking Decks

    Could you imagine living in a 135 square foot apartment? Well, a dozen students at the Savannah College of Art and Design did just that. Along with alumni and professors, the students turned a class project into reality. Through a special use permit, students temporarily lived in these micro-units [more…]

  • Challenges and Opportunities in Strip Mall Redevelopment

    The ubiquitous strip mall lines arterial roads in, out, and often through nearly every town and city in the United States and presents unique challenges to communities in North Carolina looking to revitalize aging commercial corridors. While big-box stores have undergone creative transformations to remain active spaces and indoor [more…]

  • North Carolina Biotechnology Center Fueling Growth in NC’s Biotech Industry

    In the last couple decades the biotechnology industry has seen substantial growth globally and in the United States where the industry has reached a market capitalization of over $1 trillion (EY Biotechnology Industry Report). Growth in the biotech industry has soared as well in North Carolina following the state’s [more…]

  • New Property Tax Exclusion for Developers

    The start of the 2016-2017 fiscal year will bring with it a new property tax exclusion aimed at residential and commercial development.  Known informally as the “builders’ inventory” exclusion, the new law was passed as S.L. 2015-223 and will be codified as G.S. 105-277.02. In today’s blog, I offer [more…]

  • Coordinating Staff Efforts for Development: Mixed Expectations and Missed Opportunities

    You are excited about a new grant possibility for the city to help with a business incubator initiative on which you have been working. You realize that you need to start getting the application together because you are certain that this grant will soon become a city priority.  You [more…]

  • Coding for Economic Development

    “In short, software is eating the world.” – Mark Andreessen, co-founded Netscape From cell phones, cars, to wearable tech, software keeps finding new ways to enter our lives. Mobile apps are flourishing and have transformed service-delivery whether we are banking online, hailing an Uber ride, watching Netflix, or shopping [more…]

  • Live Long and Prosper: Does CED Impact How Long We Live?

    I often think about ways in which local government matters in the daily lives of citizens. This month, a major study was released showing how local conditions, and community and economic development, infrastructure, and planning in particular, may have a direct impact on the most basic quality of life [more…]

  • Local Food Systems and Economic Development: What’s the Measurable Link?

    There is growing interest in cultivating and supporting local food systems in North Carolina.  In previous posts, School of Government faculty member Rick Morse has addressed “Why Local Governments Should be Thinking About Local Food Systems” and examined the role of local food policy councils.  Most recently, Professor Morse [more…]

  • Town-Gown Development Partnerships

    In implementing plans for neighborhood revitalization, municipalities look for partners whose investment can help lift the desire for revitalization from plan into action. In the past 20 years, one of those partners has increasingly become the local university. Local universities and colleges already have a substantial commitment to the place in [more…]

  • More Federal Funding Available to Grow Clean Energy Small Businesses

    Back in September, this blog highlighted a new program from US EPA to work with small businesses nationwide to develop and commercialize technologies that tackle critical environmental problems:  the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Program.  Now the US Department of Energy’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy has [more…]

  • Follow Procedures Prior to Acquiring Property for Redevelopment

    The Town of Renewville has ambitious redevelopment plans for several key—but tired and/or underdeveloped—properties along its Main Street. As we know from a prior post examining the limited situations in which a local government may discuss property acquisition in closed session, the Renewville town council intends to kick-start the [more…]

  • City of Greensboro’s SC2 Challenge Yields Six Innovative Comprehensive Economic Development Plans

    The City of Greensboro made history becoming the first city in the United States to award $1 million in a prize challenge for economic development. Joining a select group of cities to administer a prize challenge in collaboration with the federal government (White House Council on Strong Cities, Strong [more…]

  • Solar Powers Economic Development in NC

    The solar industry in North Carolina has grown exponentially since the state adopted its bold renewable energy policy in 2007. The combination of a 35-percent state tax credit on renewables, including solar, wind, hydroelectric and biomass, and a 30-percent federal tax credit contributed to the creation of over 4,000 [more…]

  • The Blue Economy: Linking Water to Economic Revitalization

    Over the last several decades, the economy of North Carolina has undergone major transitions. Once home to thriving tobacco, furniture, and textile industries, we’re seeing more and more emphasis on high tech solutions to modern problems. We’re now a state of leaders in technology, education, manufacturing, green industry, and [more…]

  • Reimbursement Agreements

    A developer in town is seeking approval for a large new real estate project. The zoning and subdivision ordinances call for the developer to construct and dedicate public streets and parks and water infrastructure. But, the city has plans for some additional improvements adjacent to the development—a greenway on [more…]

  • U.S. EDA Resources Help Communities Build the Local Ecosystem for Sustainable Economic Development

    It takes a multitude of resources, dedicated professionals, and committed organizations to promote economic development. Successfully realizing the economic potential of a place requires doing the hard work of leveraging all existing regional assets to build the environment, or ecosystem, where business can flourish, jobs are created, and citizens [more…]

  • Capacity Matters For CED, Part 2: News For the NC Food Industry and Farmers

    Food is in the news, and CED professionals should look below the surface images and arguments to a fundamental question raised about local capacity issues important to the NC farm and food industry. In honor of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Food for All all-university 2015-2017 [more…]

  • What are Tax Abatements and What Must State and Local Governments Disclose in Financial Reporting?

    Those of a certain age probably remember Steve Martin’s The Jerk, where Martin played the hapless character Navin R. Johnson. Of the countless memorable lines in the movie, one that always stands out is his excitement when the postman drops off the new phone books. “The new phone books [more…]

  • The End of Economic Development Tiers in North Carolina?

    In many ways, the system of economic development tiers that North Carolina uses to determine which counties are most in need of state support has never fully lived up to expectations. With the passage of the William S. Lee Act in 1996, the tiers system was applied to all [more…]

  • How to Measure Job Creation from Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Programs

      In past posts, we have discussed how governments can use financing programs to encourage energy improvements and how energy improvements can turn undesirable properties into economic opportunities.  In fact, economic development and job creation are some of the major benefits touted by governmental energy programs, even above and [more…]

  • Notice and Hearing Requirements for Economic Development Appropriations

    As discussed in a prior post, Session Law 2015-277 requires North Carolina local governments to issue notice and hold a public hearing prior to approval of any appropriation for economic development pursuant to North Carolina General Statutes Chapter 158, Article 1, “The Local Development Act of 1925.” Local governments [more…]

  • The Triple Bottom Line in Local Government Community Economic Development

      A central tenet of community economic development is the belief that in fostering a healthy economy, we are working towards building healthy, vibrant communities. But many would contend that a healthy economy is only one piece of the puzzle. Local governments are increasingly paying attention to other elements [more…]

  • Local Government Economic Development Powers “Clarified”

    On October 20, 2015, the Governor signed Session Law (S.L.) 2015-277, placing into effect several “clarifications” to the primary economic development statute used by local governments, G.S. Chapter 158, Article 1, “The Local Development Act of 1925.” The modifications fall into three categories: first, broad discretionary language was removed; [more…]

  • Cash Grants for Real Estate Developers without Competition for Jobs—A Constitutional Quandary

    A local real estate developer, Al Czervik, proposes to construct a mixed-use development with residential, office, and retail space. The city council likes the development plan because it is consistent with the council’s vision for the area. Czervik, seeing incentives being offered to convince companies to locate in North [more…]