Greensboro Council Approves Economic Incentives and Funding Plan For Performing Arts Center
A new term has officially begun for Greensboro City Council members. They were sworn in during Tuesday night’s meeting. Economic development was at the top of their agenda. The council unanimously approved four incentive grants totaling more than $1.6 million.
One of those beneficiaries is Natty Greene’s Brewing Company, which is looking to expand beyond its downtown location, and move to the former Revolution Mill site in northeast Greensboro.
Council members also gave the green light to incentive requests for the expansion of Revolution Mill, Ecolab, and National Distribution Centers, LLC.
Mayor Nancy Vaughan says the projects will have a big impact on the city’s future.
“Revolution Mill will be investing between $80 and $100 million dollars into a community that really needed that kind of investment and that’s going to breathe new life into that area, and then the performing arts center is going to transform downtown Greensboro.“
There are strings attached to this money. Vaughan says all of these incentives are tied to significant investment from the companies, as well as targets for new job creation.
Council tabled an incentives request from Tyco Electronics during its meeting Tuesday night, but will consider this at its next meeting.
Council member Sharon Hightower expressed the need to hire local residents and minorities, especially for projects in areas that face higher unemployment and other challenges such as East Greensboro. That’s where the Revolution Mills project is located.
“If you are pulling sheet rock or shoveling something you get folks to come and do that and there are people locally who would like to be hired for those jobs and we have to start doing that,” says Hightower. “We have to tell these businesses that come to us this is part of our economic requirement incentive as well. “
Many people who attended the meeting supported the incentives, but Bill Heroy says he hopes the city will look more closely at helping the homeless during the process.
“We have properties downtown and I see a lot of the homeless in our alleys and other places. They aren’t beggars. They need more support. I would like to see an increase in funding in this area,” says Heroy.
Greensboro City Council also approved a new funding plan for the Steven Tanger Center for the Performing Arts during it’s meeting Tuesday.
More than half of the $65 million-dollar project is coming from private donations, but the city has agreed to take on more than $9 million in additional bond debt to help pay for unforeseen construction costs.
Council members also approved a request to increase ticket service fees to $4.00.
“This kind public-private partnership is something we haven’t seen before,” says Kathy Manning of the Community Foundation of Greater Greensboro, which is leading the fundraising efforts for the project.
Walker Sanders, president of that organization, says the partnership will help the city attract new businesses. “This is one of the key amenities that we need to attract and retain young professionals to attract companies to the community. We need to have a competitive performing arts center that really provides a cultural amenity that so many people are looking for,” says Sanders. “There’s a void in central North Carolina and this really fills the void of doing that.”
Construction on the Steven Tanger Center for the Performing Arts is expected to begin next spring or early summer and open in 2018.
Correction: An earlier version of this story reported that the ticket fee for the Tanger Center would go towards the Arts Stabilization Fund, which was part of the original memorandum of understanding. The new resolution has the ticket fees going towards the city's debt obligations.