300 / 500 East Main Street Redevelopment

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300 and 500 Block Image

Durham County has identified a qualified development partner to redevelop the 300 and 500 blocks of East Main Street into a mix of affordable and market-rate housing, ground floor commercial space, and structure parking. The Durham Board of County Commissioners (BoCC) accepted staff's recommendation at the July 8, 2019, Regular Session meeting to proceed with the Laurel Street/ZOM Living development team. Durham County staff will begin negotiations on a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the selected team, and update the BoCC and public in the next three months. 

Project History
The Development Finance Initiative (DFI) was engaged by Durham County in May of 2017 to provide pre-development services for the two County-owned sites. The pre-development process involves several key components – public engagement, a parcel analysis to understand current conditions in downtown, a site-specific market analysis, site planning, and a financial feasibility analysis. The process helped the County identify a final development program that meets both public and private sector interests, and find the right partner to realize its vision for the 300 and 500 East Main sites. 

DFI, a program of the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill’s School of Government, partners with local governments to attract private investment for transformative projects by providing specialized finance and development expertise.

The County released a Solicitation for Development Partner Proposals in early 2019, and responses were received April 5, 2019. Over the next six weeks, Durham County and DFI conducted due diligence on the proposals received. The following memo includes a list of respondents, the evaluation criteria and a description of next steps: Memo Re_300 & 500 East Main Solicitation Responses and Next Steps_April 8_2019

The following are the leading proposals identified by Durham County staff (click to download):

The Durham Board of County Commissioners (BoCC) interviewed the leading development teams in June 2019 and staff recommended the selection of the Laurel Street/ZOM Living team at the July 8, 2019 BoCC Regular Session. 

Guiding Public Interests

On March 8th, the Board of County Commissioners endorsed the public interests for the redevelopment of the 300 and 500 blocks of E. Main Street. The guiding public interests for the two sites are:

New development on these sites should:

  • provide a parking solution that will address Durham County employee and Health & Human Service facility customer needs and meet new demand created by the project, recognizing the proximity of the future light rail station and incorporating options for multiples modes of transportation;
  • increase the availability of affordable housing in downtown Durham for households earning 80% Area Median Income (AMI) and below in a mixed income and multi-generational setting;
  • provide ground-floor commercial and service offerings for tenants and workers in and around the sites and increase activity along E. Main Street; 
  • efficiently use public investment to maximize public benefits and attract private investment;
  • focus on pedestrian-scale design that creates a vibrant, urban streetscape along East Main Street.


Public Presentations and Memos

300-500 East Main_Meet the Developers_Laurel Street and ZOM

Preliminary Proposal Evaluations_June 03, 2019_Presentation to BOCC

Next Steps in the Pre-Development Process_November 05, 2018 Presentation to BOCC

Public Engagement Summary with Appendix_Development Plans_August 22, 2018

Development Plans Under Consideration_Fact Sheet

Financial Feasibility Analysis_June 14, 2018 Presentation to BOCC

Public Engagement Update - September 4, 2018_Presentation to BOCC