Urban Partners was retained by the City of Durham to develop a revitalization plan for the city’s downtown. Our work included retail, office and housing market analysis, physical development strategies, transportation system analysis and identification of public and private financial programs available to support project implementation.
The resulting strategy emphasized historic housing rehabilitation, new office development, expanded parking and intensively-programmed arts and entertainment activities.
Since completion of the plan, the City has moved forward on
many of our recommendations. Commercial corridor and
apartment improvements have been made and the American
Tobacco Factory — a significant structure located within
the study area — has been developed for reuse as office and residential space. Urban Partners subsequently worked with the City of Durham and private interests to develop a plan for the creation of a small business incubator in the Venable Building located at the edge of the downtown area.
We developed a target tenant profile for the Venable Building, a corresponding service plan based on a survey of current and prospective tenant needs and a marketing strategy aimed at attracting tenants and maintaining a high rate of building occupancy. Additionally, we completed a financial feasibility analysis for the incubator project, including overall development budget and ten-year income and expense pro forma estimates.
The potential market demand for incubator space was estimated by developing a profile of Durham County businesses and by completing a survey of prospective user types. Given the spatial and operational requirements
described by the large number of prospective tenant types interviewed, we recommended a service plan which included such elements as common reception and conference/meeting room facilities, as-needed
secretarial support, joint health and life insurance policies and on-site financial, technical and management services. Although the community was unable to accumulate the resources necessary to fully implement this plan subsequent to our work, the facility has evolved as an incubator for arts-related and manufacturing business activities.