Cary News

Cary expands downtown improvement district

Town leaders voted Thursday to expand the area they’re targeting for revitalization in downtown Cary.

The Cary Town Council unanimously approved a plan to enlarge its Downtown Business Improvement District from 160 acres to 280 acres in downtown Cary. Property owners who want to renovate their buildings in a way that meets specific town criteria are eligible to receive thousands in town assistance to pay for a range of development fees.

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 plan approved by the council expands the district to include most properties along the Chatham Street corridor from the roundabout on West Chatham to the roundabout on East Chatham.

The move shows Cary thinks of downtown as everything inside the Maynard Loop – not just the intersection of Academy and Chatham streets, Councilwoman Lori Bush said.

“We want (revitalization) across downtown and we need to incentivize businesses to do it,” Bush said.

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 was scheduled to expire at the end of June, but the council’s approval extended it through June 2018. The move also rolled over the remaining $235,135 from the previous term.

The program likely will receive another $350,000 when Cary passes its next budget.

Cary has tried to rejuvenate its downtown by investing millions in public and private projects such as The Mayton Inn, The Cary theater, Belle at The Jones House and Pharmacy Bottle and Beverage.

The strategy is working, albeit slowly, Councilman Don Frantz said. The town needs to continue to help out where it can, he said before the meeting.

“The more we send the message that we’re serious about downtown, the more comfortable (businesses) are gonna feel spending their money downtown,” Frantz said.

Specht: 919-460-2608;

Twitter: @AndySpecht

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