More businesses may soon be eligible to receive incentives from the town to build and renovate in downtown Cary.
Cary staff wants to expand its Downtown Business Improvement District from 160 acres to 280 acres in downtown Cary. Businesses that move to the area or want to renovate their buildings in a way that meets certain town criteria would be eligible to receive thousands in town assistance to pay for a range of development fees.
Cary first started helping downtown businesses renovate their properties in 2012, budgeting a total of $350,000 for the following three-year period. To date, the town has spent $115,200 of that money on seven projects in the 160-acre area.
The incentives program is scheduled to expire at the end of June. But Cary staff wants to extend the program another three years, roll over the remaining $235,135 from the previous term and allot another $350,000 in funding.
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Under the district expansion plan, Cary would budget about $585,000 for such projects through June 2018, if the Town Council approves the plan at its meeting on June 11 and then allots funding for the program in the next budget.
Some council members, such as Jennifer Robinson, already have voiced support for the plan.
“Revitalizing a downtown is very complex. We are experimenting with solutions,” she said. “We don’t anticipate that any one solution is going to revitalize downtown.”
State law allows municipalities to spend money in Business Development Districts on things such as water lines, sewer lines, gas mains, street lighting, sidewalks and other infrastructure that businesses are usually expected to pay for themselves.
The district is now bordered, roughly, by Chapel Hill Road in the north, Hunter Street in the east, Walnut Street in the south and West Street in the west.
The town payments range from $502 to pay for development fees at Stonehaven Jewelry, and more than $101,500 to help The Mayton Inn, a hotel currently under construction that’s expected to open this fall. Both are on Academy Street.
The town staff’s proposal would expand the district to include most properties along the Chatham Street corridor from the roundabout on West Chatham to the roundabout on East Chatham.
The proposal also would extend the northern border to Boundary Street and the southern border to Byrum Street.
Town staff seeks to continue providing assistance and to more businesses as part of an effort to continue the Town Council’s mission of revitalizing downtown Cary, said Ted Boyd, Cary’s downtown manager.
“It’s a tool,” Boyd said. “If we want to see our downtown thrive, we need to see new infrastructure.”
Boyd led a public meeting at The Cary theater on June 2 to explain plans for the downtown district.
Most who attended seemed generally supportive.
“It’s not hard to see how this area could grow into something like you’d see around Five Points,” Cary resident Jim Smith said, referring to the mixed-use district north of downtown Raleigh.
Sean Cherry agreed. He attended the meeting on behalf of Mt. Zion Church, which owns property on Chapel Hill Road.
“I think it’s great for downtown Cary,” he said.
Downtown Cary properties that received funding
The following businesses and properties in the 160-acre Downtown Business Improvement District have received help from Cary since 2012 in paying for development fees.
▪ The Perfect Piece, 200 E. Chatham St.: $818
▪ The Design Response, 214 E. Chatham St.: $704
▪ The Korbin Group, 209 S. Academy St.: $1,300
▪ Stonehaven Jewelry, 307 S. Academy St.: $502
▪ Financial Risk Group, 320 S. Academy St.: $961
▪ The Mayton Inn project, 301 S. Academy St.: $94,100 for the hotel; $2,200 for the Waldo House (hotel owners’ residence); $5,200 for the Mayton House (bridal suite)
▪ Crossfit Brave, 215 Hillsboro St.: $9,300
Source: Town of Cary