Local Community Development Corporations

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

City and Private Investors to Pump $6 million into Various Shopping Centers

City council OKs money for shopping centers

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Five shopping centers around Winston-Salem will be rehabilitated and given face-lifts by private investors and the city, the Winston-Salem City Council agreed last night.
The council voted unanimously to spend about $2.8 million to improve the shopping centers: Ogburn Station off Liberty Street; West Salem on Peters Creek Parkway; Peachtree on Waughtown Street; King Plaza on Waughtown Street; and the shopping center at the intersection of Cherry Street and Polo Road.
The money is coming from the incentive funds Dell Inc. gave back to the city after closing its computer-assembly plant on Temple School Road last year.
"This is our effort to improve the opportunities for small businesses, especially in existing business areas in the core of our city that have been in decline," said council member Dan Besse, who represents the city's Southwest Ward. "We're leveraging public and private investment in those areas of our community that are in need and can benefit," Besse said.
The plan approved by the council includes about $3 million in private investment for the shopping centers. In addition to the $2.8 million city investment, the city will also issue about $550,000 in loans to the shopping centers.
The plan approved by the council on Monday is part of a city program, Revitalizing Urban Commercial Areas, which started in May 2005. The council then agreed to spend $1.5 million to improve three parts of the city: the intersection of Waughtown Street and Thomasville Road, the intersection of Liberty and 14th streets, and the Washington Park and Acadia neighborhoods.
Until the Dell Inc. repayment, funding for the program had run out.
Dell repaid about $15.5 million to the city in November 2009. A little more than $4 million remains from the money Dell paid back.
King Plaza will receive the most money — about $2.2 million in private investment and $800,000 from the city.
"What we will see from this will be dollars generated back throughout the community," said council member and mayor pro tempore Vivian Burke, who represents the city's Northeast Ward.
The city received proposals for redevelopment plans for six shopping centers, according to the city's business development office.
The plan for the sixth shopping center — Northside on Patterson Avenue in northern Winston-Salem — included no private investment. That plan was not approved.

(336) 727-7279

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Board sets aside money from Dell

By Wesley Young

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Forsyth County commissioners voted 5-2 on Monday that the $7.9 million in incentives repaid by Dell Inc. should go toward economic development rather than going into the general fund.
When Dell announced in 2009 that it would close its computer-assembly plant on Temple School Road, the company also said it would repay economic development incentives it received.
Since then, commissioners have been divided over what to do with the money. Most have favored setting aside the money for economic development, but some called for putting it in the county's general fund.
On Monday, commissioners passed a motion designating $3.7 million of the Dell money for paying a land-purchase incentive that was promised as part of the negotiations that lured Caterpillar Inc. to the county last year.
The rest — about $4.2 million — is designated for future economic development.
Commissioner Debra Conrad said before Monday's meeting that putting the money in the general fund is a bad idea, if it is meant to relieve a tight budget.
"This is a prime opportunity to keep it as incentive money so we don't have to worry about what to do if anything else like Caterpillar comes along," Conrad said. "You can't solve financial problems with one-time money. You have to solve them with permanent solutions and not temporary solutions."
Conrad joined Commissioners Walter Marshall, Dave Plyler, Everette Witherspoon and Richard Linville, the board chairman, in approving the creation of the economic development fund.
Opposed were Commissioners Gloria Whisenhunt and Bill Whiteheart — commissioners who have been most leery of economic incentives.
"It is the taxpayers' money," Whisenhunt said before the meeting. "I would like to put it in the general fund because that is where it came from."


(336) 727-7369

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Wells Fargo Study Finds NC #2 State Poised for High-Growth Industries; W-S Journal Article Trumpets Vision of Founders of Piedmont Triad Research Park

Study blasts past economic clouds, validating vision of research park founders

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The latest study on economic development that casts North Carolina as among the top three states best poised for economic growth is good news indeed. For Winston-Salem and Forsyth County, it validates the visionary leadership in this community almost 20 years ago that saw the need for a new direction.

The report by the economists at Wells Fargo Securities cites North Carolina's "burgeoning technology sector" as a key reason for its strong position, along with the state's population growth and its ability to attract corporate headquarters, the Journal's Richard Craver reported. The study reported that only Florida was listed above North Carolina as having the best regional advantage for employment in high-growth industries. The state tied with Georgia with each showing a positive advantage with 21 industries studied.

The research team was led by Mark Vitner, a senior economist with Wells Fargo. The bank has a stake in North Carolina's economic growth, but it has more than 6,300 banking locations in 39 states, including 322 Wachovia Bank branches now owned by Wells Fargo. Much of the industry data in the study is from the U.S. Department of Commerce.

Financial services were mentioned as a strong growth industry for the state, as well as insurance, professional and technical services, accommodation and food services, health care and social assistance, among others. The researchers noted company expansions in or relocations to Raleigh and Charlotte.

They failed to note the growing force in the state's high-tech industry right here at the Piedmont Triad Research Park. But the report's healthy forecast would not have been possible without the park and similar ventures. The park is home to 56 companies employing about a thousand workers with a total annual payroll, according to the park's website, of more than $50 million.

The foresight by community leaders that led to the creation of the research park as a replacement for declining furniture and apparel manufacturing jobs has not only served the community, but the state as well. It also helped lead to the evolution of Forsyth Tech Community College as a center for training future high-tech workers, also a component of the state's good ranking. FTCC's job-training capabilities helped land the Dell and Caterpillar plants.

The study also mentioned economic development incentives, noting that states must be selective in their use since funding will be limited. "This report is an indication that North Carolina's economic-development strategies are strong," said Tim Crowley, a spokesman for the N.C. Commerce Department.

We know that the key ingredients in North Carolina's growth and attractiveness are its natural resources and its natural beauty and lifestyle. These are things that we are blessed to have, but that we are also called to protect. Responsible growth is the key to our bright future, not just for us, but for future generations.