Revitalizing Downtowns and Urban Cores


Supporting a Core for Revived Communities

In 1991, Self-Help began to develop and manage commercial real estate with a focus on community revitalization. Our development includes 1.3 million square feet of office, residential and retail space in 15 locations. Through these projects, we help create “living rooms” for the entire community to work, gather and live. Our work on historic buildings helps keep the heritage of downtown areas alive and supports urban renewal rather than urban removal.

Examples of Revitalization in North Carolina

We have supported urban revitalization in communities around the country, with an especially deep impact in our headquarters city of Durham:

  • Redeveloped seven downtown buildings into 300,000 square feet of space for small businesses and non-profits, including co-working space for creative entrepreneurs.
  • Made more than 200 commercial loans totaling $79 million in and around downtown to help others redevelop properties or start small businesses.
  • This includes $52 million in financing to revitalize two abandoned mill buildings that now act as centers for economic and cultural development.
  • Developed 103 affordable homes, made 118 home loans, and developed a 32-unit affordable senior living facility, a high-performing public charter school and the community-based Durham Co-op Market.
In Greensboro, we are working to remake Revolution Mill, a 512,000 square-foot former textile mill, into a vital place for living, commerce, and creative collaboration. And just a few miles away, we're reviving an under-used neighborhood shopping center into a home for a start-up healthy foods grocery store.
Revitalized Downtowns
In places like Durham and Asheville, North Carolina, we were among the earliest investors in downtown areas that have become stronger economic and cultural centers.