300 / 500 East Main Street Redevelopment

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300 and 500 Block Image

Durham County is in the process of identifying a qualified development partner or partners 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.

Responses to the Solicitation for Development Partner Proposals were due April 5th. 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):

Based on County staff and DFI’s evaluation, the leading proposals best aligned with the guiding public interests (defined below).

The Durham County Commissioners have requested interviews with the leading development teams. These interviews will likely take place in early July. A public update will be provided at the BOCC meeting following the interviews. 

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 will help find the right partner (or partners) 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.

Project Updates

DFI provided updates to the Durham County Board of Commissioners on September 5th, 2017, January 2, March 8,  June 14, September 4, November 5, 2018 and April 8, 2019. These updates provided an overview of findings related to public engagement, parcel analysis, market indicators, and site and financial feasibility. The most recent presentation by DFI provided an overview of the solicitation process and the responses received.

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 E. Main Street.


Public Presentations and Memos

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