Gary L Herman
The NC Department of Commerce Rural Economic Development Division has awarded a $650,000 Rural Transformation Grant to Alexander County Government to rehabilitate property located at 16 West Main Avenue in Taylorsville. The county will contribute $100,000 to the project, which is estimated to cost $750,000.
The Alexander County Economic Development Corporation (EDC) spearheaded the grant application, which was entitled “Alexander – Housing Our Teachers” (Alexander – HOT). The project will renovate and develop the former Chamber of Commerce building into a commercial space on the ground floor, two one-bedroom residential units on the upper floor, and tenant storage areas in the basement. An adaptive reuse assessment study of the property at 16 West Main Avenue was completed by Maurer Architecture in January 2022.
“Alexander County is grateful for this grant which will allow us to renovate another one of our properties in the downtown area, providing much-needed residential and commercial space,” said Ronnie Reese, Chairman of the Alexander County Board of Commissioners. “We appreciate the efforts of the EDC to make this grant and project a reality. I’m excited to see what the building will look like when it’s finished. This is another big step in moving Alexander County forward.”
Connie Kincaid, EDC Business Development Manager, expressed her appreciation to the NC Commerce Rural Economic Development Division for the grant.
“We are excited to receive this significant grant which will help Alexander County further improve its properties in the downtown area,” said Kincaid. “Alexander County needs affordable housing and the Alexander County School System needs incentives to attract new teachers and retain existing teachers, so this project will help solve these needs.”
Based on research, the upper-floor residential units will be leased at affordable housing rental rates or 30 percent of the teacher’s gross annual income as defined by the federal government for affordable housing.
The street-level commercial space will be leased at Taylorsville’s average commercial rental rate. The EDC will focus recruitment efforts on a retail use to meet the market demands of Alexander County.
David Icenhour, EDC Executive Director, said the “Alexander – Helping Our Teachers” project will reap benefits for the community.
“With this grant, Alexander County Government has forged a partnership with Alexander County Schools to lease the upper-level residential units at an affordable rate to new teachers relocating to work in the public school system,” said Icenhour. “This is a win-win for Alexander County, our school system, and our economy.”
The county plans to issue a request for qualifications (RFQ) this month for an architect/engineer to complete construction drawings and specifications. Construction is expected to begin in May 2023 with completion in December 2024.
Learn more about the NC Commerce Rural Transformation Grant program at www.nccommerce.com/grants-incentives/rural-transformation-grants.