Durham News

Durham City Council considers economic incentive deal changes

City Council members extended a deadline on a $170,000 economic incentive deal Monday and will likely take similar action on a $5.25 million deal Thursday.

In February 2015, the City Council approved a $170,000 Neighborhood Revitalization Grant for A&J Capital Inc. to renovate a building at 406 S. Driver St. in East Durham.

The two-story building is across the street from what used to be Joe’s Diner and catty-corner from the former Angier Avenue Baptist Church.

James Rogers, a Durham attorney who lives in Cary, plans to renovate the building into two apartments on the second floor and four retail spaces on the ground level. Under the agreement, A&J Capital needed to invest $395,00 by February 2016 and finish the project by Feb. 2, 2017, to receive the $170,000 grant.

Rogers failed to complete the contract requirements due to lending issues and construction delays, a city report states. The City Council voted Monday to extend the deadline to Dec. 31, 2017.

In September 2015, the City Council approved an economic incentive agreement with developers of the Durham Innovation District to build two, seven-story buildings totaling nearly 350,000 square feet on Morris Street between Hunt and Roney streets.

The buildings are part of the 15-acre Durham Innovation District being developed through a partnership between Longfellow Real Estate Partners and Measurement Inc.

The up to $5.25 million value of the city’s economic incentive deal remains the same, but proposed changes include:

▪ The minimum required capital investment drops from $87 million to as low as $78.3 million. If the value of the investment drops, so would the city’s incentives. The incentive money would be paid over a 15-year-period after the project is completed and key benchmarks are hit.

▪ The original agreement said half the total parking spaces had to be open for public use evenings and weekends. The new agreements says no more than 410 spaces are subject to that agreement.

▪  The new agreement delays the required start of construction from Dec. 31 to March 2017.

Jessica Brock, managing director or Longfellow Real Estate Partners, told the City Council that they aren’t changing the project, but are seeking the adjustments following a lender’s request for actual numbers versus percentages.

City Council members indicated they wanted to clarify some of the wording, but they would likely approve the change at a Thursday City Council work session.

Virginia Bridges: 919-829-8924, @virginiabridges