NC Building Reuse Program

Text Description automatically generated with medium confidenceCity of Burlington

Economic Development Office

July 29, 2022

In June, the North Carolina Rural Infrastructure Authority (RIA), a division of the North Carolina Department of Commerce, announced that 13 Building Reuse grants have been awarded to businesses across the state. Governor Roy Cooper announced the grant awards, amounting to $2,655,000 to private companies promising to create 427 total jobs. The recipients of the grants are expected to invest over $41 million in rural North Carolina. 

The Building Reuse Program is one of the two main grant programs that the RIA administers to grant local governments funding to renovate vacant buildings. The program is a great tool for cities and counties to encourage the renovation, expansion, or construction of buildings for North Carolina companies and health care facilities. The grants allow local governments to encourage the renovation, upfit, and expansion of existing buildings in order to stimulate job creation within North Carolina-based companies. Funding can be used for expenses such as materials and labor to install HVAC, electrical, plumbing, flooring, roofing, carpentry, painting, safety systems such as fire alarms and fire suppression, and more. 

The renovation of vacant buildings has distinct advantages, especially from an economic standpoint. The cost of tearing an old building down to put a new one up is likely to be much higher than the renovation of the original building, and often saves time for a new business due to a faster turnaround into cash inflow. Further, processes for legal requirements like rezoning, financing, and construction take much less time if the building already exists.

From a social and cultural standpoint, it is also attractive for a new business to use existing buildings because it creates a preservation of local identity and a sense of place. Restoring a historic space has a feeling of authenticity to it that is hard to replicate with the more modern looks of today. It gives a city or town character, a sense of its relevance in history and determination to honor the past in its own way. North Carolina, for example, historically excelled in industries such as textiles and furniture; as these industries moved off-shore, they left many vacant manufacturing buildings. These ‘legacy’ industrial properties are now being renovated to house new industries, such as automotive, biotechnology, and renewable energy. 

Burlington has been a recipient of several of the Building Reuse grants in the past five years, including two in 2022. In April, the City of Burlington received $120,000 to support telecommunications support firm National OnDemand in renovating and expanding into the former First Horizon Bank building in Downtown Burlington. The City also received a $300,000 reuse grant to recruit ChenMed, a primary care provider focusing on seniors, into a former pharmacy building. Collectively, these two projects attracted over $1.5 million in private investment and the creation of 45 jobs. 

The Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina (EDPNC) works closely with the RIA to determine if an expansion project is eligible for the Building Reuse Program. Though the incentive program is awarded and administered by the Department of Commerce, the EDPNC has a team of industry expansions managers that are available to contact about potential eligibility for the building reuse grant. These managers serve as a liaison to state business-support resources such as building reuse, funding opportunities, workforce training and development, just to name a few.

The central point of contact for the Piedmont Triad is Tracy Dellinger for existing industry expansions. As one of the managers, Tracy is focused on helping existing businesses within this region prosper and expand by providing essential resources to overcome barriers of growth – anything from finding a qualified workforce to understanding international markets. The Burlington Economic Development office has worked closely with Tracy and the EDPNC to encourage businesses to expand and flourish in their endeavors. 

If your business is considering growth involving the renovation of an older vacant building or the expansion of a currently used building, the Building Reuse Program could substantially help pay for the work needed to do so. Any company interested in learning more about the state building reuse grant program should reach out to Tracy Dellinger directly, or to the Burlington Economic Development office to assist in starting the grant process.

EDPNC Contact
Tracy Dellinger
Manager, Existing Industry Expansions, Piedmont Triad
(336) 403-6672

Burlington Economic Development Contact
Peter Bishop
Director of Economic Development
(336) 222-5147

Isabella DeLaGarza, EYOS Fellow

City Contact
Isabella DeLaGarza
425 S. Lexington Ave. 
Burlington, NC 27215