300 and 500 E. Main Redevelopment

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300 and 500 Block Image

Durham County is currently evaluating options for the development of two County-owned sites on the 300 and 500 blocks of East Main Street in downtown Durham. The two sites are currently utilized as surface parking lots for the public and Durham County employees.


Durham County is exploring the potential for a public-private partnership to develop a mix of uses on the two sites, such as structured parking, affordable and market-rate housing, and commercial space. 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. This process will help the County identify a final development program that meets both public and private sector interests, and find the right partner (or partners) to realize its vision for the 300 and 500 East Main sites.

Private development partner(s) will be identified through a competitive solicitation process, anticipated for Winter 2018/2019.

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 Update (September 2018)

DFI provided updates to the Durham County Board of Commissioners on September 5th, 2017, January 2, March 8,  June 14, and September 4, 2018.  These updates provided an overview of findings related to the parcel analysis, market indicators, and site and financial feasibility. Updates also included overviews of public engagement to date.

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.

Opportunities for Public Input

Thank you to everyone that attended the public input sessions. To receive updates directly, please share your email address with us here.


Public Presentations

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