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 [more…]

The Tortoise, the Hare, and Demolition in Historic Districts

A few blocks from downtown in the town’s historic district sit two houses built [more…]

Conveyance of Local Government Property for Affordable Housing

A developer of affordable housing for low and moderate income persons has approached the [more…]

Notice and Hearing Requirements for Economic Development Appropriations

As discussed in a prior post, Session Law 2015-277 requires North Carolina local governments [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 |

  • Studying the Affordability of Water Rates

    The affordability of water and wastewater rates is an issue that is attracting more attention than ever. In particular, “A Burgeoning Crisis? A Nationwide Assessment of the Geography of Water Affordability in United States”—a recent paper out of Michigan State University— has generated a great deal of debate and dialogue about the issue. The paper is worth reading for yourself, but the primary conclusion of the paper is that over the next five years, at least 35.6% of the U.S. population will have combined water and wastewater bills greater than 4.5% of their community’s median household income. Read 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 partner on relatively larger, coordinated development projects that involve construction of both public and private facilities.

    Often these public-private partnerships are necessary because the local government owns property downtown and needs a private partner to develop it. When a municipality (not a county) seeks to partner with a private developer for development of a downtown parcel involving construction of both public and private facilities, there is a statute designed just for that purpose: G.S. 160A-458.3 Downtown development projects. The statute makes some potentially confusing references to a variety of other statutes when authorizing disposition of real property and therefore requires some explanation. This post provides historical context for the statute and describes the property disposition procedures. Read more »

  • Leading development projects through text messages and skype?

    In the community and economic development field, regional and statewide organizations are commonplace. In North Carolina, the Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina is a statewide economic development agency with regional industry representatives in all corners of the state. The North Carolina Department of Commerce maintains offices throughout the state.  Smaller economic development organizations may broaden their reach by having some employees live closer to the location of projects and further from headquarters. Even here at the School of Government, some employees are granted the option to work from remote or home offices.

    Having staff members dispersed across large geographic areas far from headquarters creates challenges for leaders, who must set a vision for the organization, incorporate location into work assignments, monitor work from afar, and ensure staff remain motivated. The culture and morale of the organization often depends on the communication and relationship that is established by leadership, but attempts to create positive work environments can be challenging in an era when work may not be done in the same physical office.  As flexible work schedules and telework become a new standard, leaders must consider how they will adapt.    Read more »

  • Raleigh’s Moore Square Redevelopment

    When you think of highest and best use for real estate, public parks are often overlooked.  Even if a park is functioning as intended, it still might have potential to serve the community in a greater capacity while adding benefit to the surrounding area. If the purpose of a park is to offer a recreational area for the community around it, then the community must be engaged in its design.  The City of Raleigh’s Parks, Recreation and Cultural Resources Department is doing just that with Moore Square.

    Moore Square was founded in the same year as Raleigh in 1792 when Senator and surveyor William Christmas laid out 400 acres of city fabric.  Moore Square is one of 3 remaining planned parcels that has survived the test of time, making it a historical and integral part of Raleigh.  However, the park is showing its age having been the same since around 1964.  Materials and furnishing are worn and many expressed concerns with safety, partially due to poor visibility and lack of lighting.  Read more »

  • 5 ways to make your building healthier: Fitwel, Part 2 of 2

    A recent CED blog post introduced Fitwel – a new certification system focused on occupant health and wellness in buildings – and began to explore what a ‘healthy’ building looks like. This post continues the discussion, highlighting five examples of features that the Fitwel system recognizes. The purpose of this post is to give readers a better sense of:

    1. what Fitwel certification looks like in practice; and
    2. what specific things owners and tenants can do to make their office buildings healthier places to work.

    Read more »

  • Community Resilience: Some Practical Questions

    The research project on community resilience at the School of Government aims to help communities think differently about how they prepare for disasters and how they can become more resilient. This is the fourth blog in a series that looks at what enhancing resilience means for North Carolina’s communities. Previous blogs have discussed the importance of resilience thinking and ways of measuring resilience and vulnerability. However, resilience planning raises a number of practical questions. Read more »

  • What @sog_ced is reading online: May 2017

    The 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:

    Charlotte Business Journal asks local economic developers about the link between trade policy and international investment interest: http://bit.ly/2qYi56g

    18 North Carolina counties quadrupled service jobs from 1990-2015 and most are rural, small town or suburban, according to the UNC Center for Urban & Regional Studies’ profile of the state’s hospitality and leisure-sector jobs: http://bit.ly/2rFdcAy

    Comprehensive story about Haywood County, North Carolina’s economic development history and future: http://bit.ly/2qct5O9 

    A national report considers the connection between transportation infrastructure and economic development, finding that investments are needed in North Carolina: http://bit.ly/2smQgCB

    The federal government provides less than 1% of hurricane recovery assistance funds requested by North Carolina: http://bit.ly/2qGeWEH

    New Census data shows that, in Eastern North Carolina, population is stabilizing in some areas that were declining: http://bit.ly/2qs3X1A Read more »

  • The Value of Greenways

    In an increasingly digital world, the economic fortunes of a community can be dependent on a quality of life it provides to residents. Investments in greenway systems — trails lined with trees, vegetation, or other natural features — are a way that some local governments choose to enhance quality of life by providing recreational opportunities and leveraging underutilized amenities. Greenways often following a natural feature such as a river or disused railroad bed.

    Boston’s Emerald Necklace, constructed in the 1880’s is usually recognized as the first major U.S. greenway, and connects 1,100 acres of parks through seven miles of trail. More recent examples include New York City’s High Line or Atlanta’s BeltLine. Many North Carolina communities, large and small, have made public investments in greenways. Kinston, for example, recently completed the first phase of its downtown Arts Riverwalk and Durham has over 30 miles of greenways and trails within its City limits. As communities build or expand greenways, they should understand and consider the value of these trails can bring. Read more »

  • Renewables: Beyond Traditional Small Scale Applications

    When people think about renewable energy for their homes and businesses, the first option that comes to mind is building a traditional solar panel array. Whether on their roof or on the ground, these systems provide clean solar energy and are eligible for different incentive programs. Nevertheless, that is not the only option available. In an industry that has seen rapid innovation and an overall drop in prices, companies have been quick in exploiting more ways in which to create value. This post, the first in a 2-part series, will explore new innovations in solar canopies, roofs, and even shingles. Read more »

  • A Closer Look at Multifamily Construction Types

    A recent blog post examined the benefits of wood-framed construction. However, in the few months that have lapsed between that article and this post, The Metropolitan, a 241-unit apartment building under development in Raleigh inexplicably caught fire and subsequently burned to the ground, causing severe damage to several adjacent buildings in the process. Due to the hard work and heroism of The Raleigh Fire Department, thankfully no loss of life occurred. However, the fact that this was the largest fire in the City of Raleigh for nearly a century has North Carolina residents wondering if wood-framed construction is really safe. So today, the CED blog will try to answer this question by examining different construction materials and the tradeoffs associated with each. Read more »

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