Durham City Council to Vote on $4.2 Million Grant for Fayette Place Purchase

The Durham City Council is moving ahead with giving the Durham Housing Authority $4.2 million to buy 20 acres of crumbling foundations for future affordable housing.

The council plans to vote on the grant to Development Ventures Inc., (DVI) a development arm of the Durham Housing Authority, at its June 5 meeting.

The grant deal was on the council’s Thursday work session agenda, but members didn’t ask any questions or express concerns, indicating likely approval.

The money would allow DVI to re-purchase the property known as Fayette Place, which was sold to Campus Apartments in 2007. The area is bounded by Fayetteville, Umstead and Merrick streets, between downtown and N.C. Central University.

Most City Council members committed to supporting the grant at a recent Durham Congregations, Associations and Neighborhoods meeting.

On Thursday, City Councilman Charlie Reece said it’s essential to bring the property under public control.

Neighbors have expressed frustration for years about the vacant land and unmet promises.

They dated the decline of the once cohesive, affluent black neighborhood to longtime homeowners pushed out to make way for the Durham Freeway and a housing project billed as “urban renewal.”

Instead, the Fayetteville Street public housing complex opened, followed by plans for two affordable-housing projects that never happened.

The city grant will include more than $4 million to repurchase the property and $102,000 to maintain the property through 2019. About $47,000 would go to a market study and legal fees.

The purchase is set to close June 16. A market study is to be completed in August and the community-engagement process would be held in September.

The grant agreement requires the housing authority to mow the grass, remove trash and repair the fencing. The housing authority has to include affordable housing in whatever gets built and seek community input, including from the Hayti area and N.C. Central University.

The authority also has to provide quarterly financial updates and can’t sell the site without the consent of the city manager, the grant agreement states.

For about 35 years, the property housed the 200-unit Fayetteville Street public housing complex.

In the early 2000s, the Durham Housing Authority started to convert the property into Fayette Place, a low-income housing development funded with tax credits. The development never happened.

In 2007, Campus Apartments agreed to pay the authority $4 million for Fayette Place. The agreement allowed the authority to repurchase the property if Campus Apartments failed to rent at least 168 beds to N.C. Central University students or provide housing for low-income individuals.

Under the agreement, the housing authority can reacquire the property for the purchase price or a recent appraised value, whichever is higher. A recent appraisal valued the property at less than the $4 million the company paid.

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Durham City Calendar for Week of May 15-19

Durham City Government meetings scheduled this week include:

Monday, May 15

7:00 p.m. City Council Meeting (City Hall/1st Floor/Council Chambers)

Tuesday, May 16

7:00 p.m. Durham Bicycle & Pedestrian Advisory Commission (City Hall/2nd Floor/Committee Room)

Wednesday, May 17

8:30 a.m. Public Art Committee of the Durham Cultural Advisory Board (Durham Arts Council/120 Morris Street)

9:30 a.m. Upper Neuse River Basin Association (Town Hall/Camp Butner Room/415 Central Avenue/Butner, NC 27509)

3:00 p.m. Durham Cultural Advisory Board (The Bullpen/James B. Duke Boardroom/Duke Innovation & Entrepreneurship Initiative/215 Morris St., Suite 300)

3:30 p.m. Audit/Finance Committee of the Durham Housing Authority Board of Commissioners (Durham Housing Authority/330 E. Main Street)

5:30 p.m. Housing Appeals Board (Neighborhood Improvement Services Department/807 E. Main Street/3rd Floor Conference Room/Suite 2-300/Golden Belt Building)

5:30 p.m. Open Space Committee of the Durham Open Space & Trails Commission (City Hall/Audit Services Area/1st Floor/Conference Room 1A)

5:45 p.m. Bond Committee of the Durham Open Space and Trails Commission (City Hall/2nd Floor/Committee Room)

6:00 p.m. Durham City-County Appearance Commission (Urban Design Studio/City Hall/City-County Planning Department/Ground Floor)

7:00 p.m. Durham Open Space & Trails Commission (City Hall/2nd Floor/Committee Room)

Thursday, May 18

1:00 p.m. City Council Work Session (City Hall/2nd Floor/Committee Room)

1:00 p.m. Raleigh-Durham Airport Authority Board of Directors (RDU Administrative Offices/1000 Trade Drive/RDU Airport, NC 27623)

1:00 p.m. Young Adult Resource Center Meeting of the Durham Homeless Services Advisory Committee (Independent Living Resources/411 Andrews Road, #230)

7:00 p.m. Affordable Housing Density Bonus Community Meeting (City Hall/1st Floor/Council Chambers)

7:00 p.m. Sister Cities of Durham, Inc. Board Meeting (Hibachi Grill/4600 Durham-Chapel Hill Boulevard)

Friday, May 19

No Meetings Scheduled

All meetings are held in City Hall, 101 City Hall Plaza, unless otherwise indicated. Additional meetings may be scheduled after this list is submitted for publication. Free parking is available during the Council Meeting in the Chapel Hill Street Parking Garage, located across Mangum from City Hall. Any citizen wishing to be heard on agenda matters should called the City Clerk’s Office at 919-560-4166 to place your name on the Speaker’s List.

To learn more about current City of Durham issues and upcoming events, watch CityLife on Time Warner Cable channel 8. CityLife airs Mondays at 6:30 p.m. and Tuesdays at 9 p.m. Citizen input and questions are invited.


Big Changes Coming to Durham’s Nc Mutual Building


The NC Mutual building on West Chapel Hill Street is getting a dramatic makeover – one that will see its landmark name stripped from the top of the building.

The 12-story, 1960s-era office tower has been renamed Legacy Tower by a development group led by Michael Lemanski, who plans to update the building to attract new tenants. Earlier this year, NC Mutual announced it would shrink its footprint there from six floors to one, opening up 60,000 square feet of office space there.

Lemanski bought the building in 2006 for $10.5 million, while still with Greenfire Development, according to property records. The original Greenfire investors were bought out several years ago, and the new group contains mainly local investors, he said

The group is pouring $11 million into the renovations.

“The building has good bones,” Lemanski said, noting the changes will be mainly cosmetic.

Changes include restoring the façade, adding a mezzanine to expand the lobby by 13,000 square feet, and improving amenities such as a fitness center and a cafe.

Lemanski said the group is also adding lights to make the building more prominent at night.

The renovations should be complete in 12 months.

The naming rights of the building are also available for purchase – so potentially a new company name will adorn the top of the building again.

The renovations come as the 118-year-old NC Mutual reduces its footprint in Durham. The company, which posted a loss of $479,000 last year, told its shareholders at its annual meeting this year about the building’s transformation.

The company also changed its name in March to NC Mutual rather than continuing to use N.C. Mutual Life, which is currently written on the building’s signage.

Rents will climb significantly once the renovation is completed. Real estate firm Avison Young lists rates at the building between $26 to $29 per square foot.

“We think it can have similar rates as the rest of downtown Durham,” Lemanski said.

Lemanksi hopes the changes will attract creative-class clientele. The architecture firm Perkins+Will has already moved into the building, and he has heard interest from other potential tenants.

“We think (the renovations) will make it an amazing showpiece in downtown,” he said.

Woman Dies in Durham Motorcycle Crash

NC DOT camera showing a ramp closed at US 70 and NC 98.

DURHAM, N.C. (WNCN) — A woman driving a motorcycle died in a crash in Durham early Sunday evening, police said.

The crash happened just before 6:15 p.m. on U.S. Highway 70 near N.C. Highway 98, Durham police said in a news release.

The woman motorcyclist was heading east on U.S. 70 while pulling a trailer, according to police.

The crash only involved the motorcyclist, who died at the scene, police said.

As of 8:10 p.m., the exit ramp from U.S. 70 east to N.C.98 is closed. The on-ramp from N.C. 98 to U.S. 70 east is also closed.

No other details were immediately available.

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Nc: Durham-Orange Light-Rail Costs Could Delay Durham-Wake Commuter Rail

April 08–DURHAM — The rising costs of the Durham-Orange light rail project may delay plans for a 37-mile commuter-rail line connecting Wake and Durham counties.

The Wake County Transit Plan calls for the Wake-Durham Commuter Rail Project to connect Garner and Durham with stops in Raleigh, including N.C. State University; Cary; Morrisville and Research Triangle Park by 2027.

In November, Wake County voters agreed to raise the county’s sales tax rate by a half-cent in order to help fund the 10-year $2.3 billion transit plan, which also includes bus service improvements.

The Wake plan is based on Durham County paying 33 percent of the commuter rail’s local costs, which corresponds to the percentage of track in Durham County.

In a presentation to Durham City Council this week, GoTriangle officials indicated Durham County’s existing transit revenue streams wouldn’t support Wake’s timeline for launching the commuter rail, considering the updated financing model for the light-rail project.

Durham County’s transit fund cash balance would face a $170.6 million shortfall in fiscal year 2035 if Durham agreed to a 33 percent share and a 2027 delivery date, said John Tallmadge, who directs GoTriangle’s Regional Services Development Department.

Durham County is paying for the light-rail and commuter-rail projects with money from a half-cent transit sales tax, car rental fees and vehicle registration fees.

The commuter-rail project becomes more viable if it is pushed back 10 years, with an opening date in 2037 with Durham shouldering 20 percent of the costs. Durham County would have to pay cash for the project because financing wouldn’t be viable, Tallmadge said.

Mike Charbonneau, a GoTriangle spokesman, wrote in an email that GoTriangle is providing financial analysis of hypothetical scenarios for commuter rail.

“The Commuter Rail project in the Wake County Transit Plan is still early in the planning process,” he wrote.

Will Allen, who was appointed by the Raleigh City Council to the GoTriangle board, said it was a strategic decision to present a 10-year plan to Wake voters that was aggressive and concrete. It was based on a conservative investment model that delivered and paid for all the promised items by 2027.

Allen also pointed out that Wake County tax dollars can only be spent in Wake County.

“We are restricted,” he said. “We can’t pay for a mile of track in Durham County.”

Delaying the plan could increase the costs due to inflation and other economic factors, he said.

“So it’s important that we meet the schedule promised to the voters,” he said.

Wake commissioners’ chairman Sig Hutchinson was more optimistic about the potential financing challenges.

“We just have to get creative and find some alternative sources of funding,” outside of additional Wake County funding. “We just have to do this work, and this is what we are about — we are about creating as 21st century community in which transit has got to be part of the solution.”

The updated Durham Transit Plan presented to the City Council on Thursday included updated figures for the Durham-Orange Light Transit Rail project. The project cost has jumped to $3.3 billion, which includes construction, financing and other costs through 2062.

Orange and Durham will split the project’s $1.9 billion local cost with a cost-sharing agreement that is being renegotiated so Durham shoulders more of the cost to prevent depleting Orange County’s transit funds. The local costs increased after the anticipated state share decreased from 25 to 10 percent of project costs and financing and inflation were included in the price tag.

Elected officials in Durham say there is a strong interest in supporting the commuter rail, but the plans may have to be adjusted.

“We do feel it is an important component for the overall plan for transit in the region,” Durham County Commissioner Ellen Reckhow said. “We do want to do it. There is commitment to do it, so we are still looking at when and how that would be funded.”

Options could include raising money from other partners, possibly through a special transportation-related tax in the Research Triangle Park district. The current commuter-rail plan doesn’t include state funding, Reckhow said.

Durham County commissioners Chairwoman Wendy Jacobs said officials will work on solutions.

“I think there obviously will be adjustments that are going to have to be made in terms of the timing on how we will fill in some of the funding gaps,” Jacobs said. “The important thing is we are as committed to doing the light rail as we are to doing the commuter rail.”

Virginia Bridges: 919-829-8924, @virginiabridges

___ (c)2017 The News & Observer (Raleigh, N.C.) Visit The News & Observer (Raleigh, N.C.) at www.newsobserver.com Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

The Durham-Chapel

Where to Partake in N.C. Beer Month Celebrations in the Durham-Chapel Hill Area


April is North Carolina Beer Month — which means, from the mountains to the beach, craft breweries and bottle shops are hosting events to celebrate one of the nation’s hotbeds of craft beer.

Those living or visiting the greater Durham area, which has seen a number of new breweries open shop in recent years, should be able to find a different place to visit every week in April for N.C. Beer Month.

A full list of events across the state can be found at ncbeermonth.com. A spattering of local events are listed below.

▪ Durham craft brewer Fullsteam Brewery is holding events every week during April. The events are focused around the brewing process, with educational sessions on grains (April 8), hops (April 15), and yeast (April 22). Fullsteam is bringing in experts on each subject.

Fullsteam wraps up beer month with a battle of the beers on April 29. The brewery’s employees will compete against each other to see who can brew the best beer made from North Carolina grains and at least one ingredient from the state and from a local company.

▪ Ponysaurus Brewing Co. is hosting the Bull City Food Swap at its brewery on Monday, April 17. The event gives guests the opportunity to drink beer and trade homegrown food.

▪ Tap the Triangle’s Friday Night Flights beer shuttle is running tours every Friday this month in Durham. The company is offering 20 percent off its tours during N.C. Beer Month and makes stops at Durty Bull Brewing Co., Ponysaurus, Startpoint Brewing, Ramblers Bottle Shop, Sam’s Quik Shop and Fullsteam.

▪ Bull City Burger and Brewery is releasing four one-off beers this month: a cask-conditioned Jack Tar Irish Stout with Amarena Cherries (April 1), a Mango Mint Mosaic Single Hop IPA (April 7), a bourbon barrel-aged Boars Russian Imperial Stout (April 14), and a Secret Sour Saison with Raspberries (April 21).

▪ Many of Durham’s bottle shops are also holding special N.C. Beer Month events. Bottle 501 will have a North Carolina brewery tap takeover every week. Beer Durham will host a party on Friday, April 7. Beer Study has a litany of events as well as Sam’s Quik Shop.

▪ Bull Durham Beer Co. is hosting free blues concerts every Wednesday and Friday in April at its new The Bullpen location on Blackwell Street. The music will be from various artists through the Music Maker Relief Foundation.

▪ Carrboro’s Steel String Brewery is hosting a cake bake-off on Saturday, April 8, in honor of the annual release of its Choco Freakness Imperial Cocoa Stout.

▪ Mystery Brewing is co-hosting a three-day block party in Hillsborough on April 28-30. The block party, called West Fest, will feature local musicians and beer from Mystery Brewing.

▪ Raleigh-centric Walter Magazine is hosting a beer tasting event at Pittsboro’s Fearrington Village on Sunday, April 9. The event runs from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. and features beers from Fullsteam Brewery, Mother Earth Brewing, Bond Brother Beer Co., Four Saints Brewing Co. and Tarboro Brewing Co.

Tickets are $25 per person and complimentary hors d’oeuvres, pop-up shops and live music from Gasoline Stove will be present.

▪ New Pittsboro cider maker Chatham Cider Works is hosting an open house at its cidery on April 15, from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m.


Fresh Start, Home Ties Play into Juwan Durham’s Exit from Uconn

Connecticut’s Juwan Durham, a former standout at Tampa Prep, announced via Twitter on Monday that he is transferring after one season.
Durham, a 6-foot-11 forward, is the third player to leave the Huskies in the past month, joining fellow freshman Vance Jackson and sophomore Steven Enoch. UConn signee Makai Ashton-Langford also requested to be released from his letter of intent.
Terrapins coach Joe Fenlon said Durham’s decision was not strictly based on basketball.
“There were many factors that Juwan weighed before reaching his decision,” Fenlon said. “He just decided he needed a fresh start.”
There also was a desire to play closer to home.
“Maybe that’s in Florida, maybe it’s somewhere close to the state for Juwan,” Fenlon said. “He has some time to think this through.”
Durham committed to UConn in September 2015 after taking his official visit to the school. At the time of his commitment, he was considered a four-star recruit and a top-25 prospect in the 2016 class by nearly every major recruiting service. He was one of the rare bay area basketball stars who committed to a national title contender in the past decade.
Others in that elite group include former Gibbs/Admiral Farragut star Marreese Speights (Florida 2006-08), former Plant standout Michael Frazier (Florida 2012-15) and former Sickles star John Henson (North Carolina 2009-12).
Tampa Catholic forward Kevin Knox will be the next when makes his decision later this month.
Durham picked the Huskies over offers from more than a dozen major schools, including Indiana, Florida, Florida State, Miami and Louisville. UConn has won four national titles, the last coming in 2014.
Days after announcing his commitment, Durham tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his knee for the second time in a seven-month span. The injury ended his senior season before it started.
This season with the Huskies was the first time Durham returned to the court. Durham played in all 28 games as a freshman, averaging 1.6 points and 1.5 rebounds per game.
After Durham announced his decision to leave, Fenlon had a text from an ACC school inquiring about the coach’s former prized player.
“Juwan will have plenty of options,” Fenlon said.


Fiery Head-On Collision During Chase near Person-Durham County Line

TIMBERLAKE, North Carolina (WTVD) —
There’s been a fiery fatal head-on collision during a chase along U.S. Hwy 501 just south of Timberlake near the Person County-Durham County line.
Pictures from Chopper 11 HD showed a burned-out vehicle on its side in the median just south of the NC Hwy 57 (Hillsborough Road) junction.
There was another SUV with severe front-end damage.
Heading to scene of fiery crash just over PersonCo line. #ABC11 eyewitness just sent us this picture. pic.twitter.com/a1FTbrzYn7
— Elaina Athans (@AthansABC11) April 3, 2017
Roxboro Police Chief David Hess said it all began when his officers were doing a safety checkpoint in the area of Foushee Street and Garret Street. A vehicle made a U-turn about 500 yards away and left the area.
Police put out a Be On The Lookout (BOLO) for the vehicle, but Hess said his officers did not give chase.
Person County sheriff’s deputies spotted the stolen car with a wanted person inside and were following it when the crash happened. Witnesses said the car was driving erratically before the collision in the northbound lanes.
“Our hearts are heavy for the loss of life today in this tragic police chase,” Chief Hess said. “Our thoughts and prayers go out to the families and deputies involved in this horrific tragedy. Anytime someone chooses to flee the danger increases. Simply complying with the traffic laws may have allowed this incident not to occur. This is a tragic loss of life.”
The dead person has not been identified.
The southbound lanes are closed while investigators work the scene.
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Durham Nc Is a Great Place to Live If You Work in Education

Durham NC is a great place to live if you work in education. This is especially true if you are seeking employment at a college, university, or other educational institution of higher learning.

A number of the nation’s most prestigious colleges are centered in this area, and they are also some of the biggest schools in the state of North Carolina. Durham is home to Duke University, but Chapel Hill is only minutes away and home to the University of North Carolina’s primary campus.

Raleigh is not too distant either and home to North Carolina State University. Yet another Atlantic Coast Conference school with many tens of thousands of students, Wake Forest, is also within a decent daily commuting distance. On top of that, smaller or lesser-known schools like the University of North Carolina Greensboro are within a practical commute too.

Collectively, the Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill “Triangle” area has hundreds of thousands of college and university students who need teaching. That’s on top of the fact that this multiple-county metropolitan area rivals Charlotte as the largest population center in the state, meaning there are also hundreds of thousands of elementary, middle, and high school students also needing an education. Wake County’s school system alone is one of the biggest in this state, which ranks in top ten in population nationally.

Quality of life is very high in this area, thanks to sprawling suburbs and lots of space. Winters are very mild, and Interstates 40, 85, and 95 provide easy access to many nearby regions for travel, be it business or pleasure. The beaches of the Atlantic are not too far to the east, and the Appalachian Mountains are only hours to the west. Durham is a great place to live and travel out of.

Durham Police Id Man Killed in Early Morning Crash

Police say 29 year-old Nicholas Fuller of Durham was killed when the car he was driving crashed at the intersection of Grant Street and Umstead Street in Durham.
The accident happened just before 4:00 a.m. Saturday.
Police say Fuller was driving a grey Honda Accord east on E. Umstead Street and crashed into an embankment just past Grant Street.
Fuller was pronounced deceased at the scene.
Police say the front passenger, 21 year-old Jay-Quan Wint of Durham was seriously injured. Wint was tranported to the hospital and is expected to survive.
The accident remains under investigation.
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