Business High Point — Chamber of Commerce is excited about the opening of our transformational project, Congdon Yards, a place where creativity and community will come together. A reality thanks to the Congdon family’s incredibly generous $40 million investment and their belief and commitment to our community.
It is easy for me to get lost in the wonderment of this project, already highlighted in publications such as Architectural Digest and the New York Times. Congdon Yards has spectacular public spaces, a one-of-a-kind production and prototype facility, cafes, restaurants and premium office space.
However, when I take a step back and see all the amazing projects happening around us I am reminded of the genesis of how all of this came about and how far our city has come in a very short time.
Most know the story … three years ago, the city committed to building a multi-use stadium with the expectation that it would be a catalyst for growth and economic development for downtown. High Point University’s president, Nido Qubein, took the lead and raised $63 million in support of the efforts.
When the city approached the Guilford County Board of Commissioners to seek assistance, the majority of commissioners denied any support. They balked at the projections that there would be approximately $100 million of new development in the next 10 years.
So where are we now? Despite a global pandemic and economic crisis, projections for new downtown development is expected to approach $200 million in the next three to five years. And, in the recent election, the Guilford County commissioners flipped political leadership in dramatic fashion.
As people emerge from their home offices and our current crisis passes (I pray), folks will be astonished at the projects that are currently underway in our downtown core. In addition to Congdon Yards, here are just a few:
The Nido and Mariana Qubein Children’s Museum, a $25 million, 57,685-square-foot facility is currently under construction and expected to open late summer 2021. It will feature attractions for children of all ages, including the city’s first ever “STEAM” (science, technology, engineering, arts and math) lab.
Dr. Lenny Peters and Peters Development have completed a four-story, 14,000-square-foot, Class A office building serving as headquarters for Bethany Medical. This building will bring up to 40 jobs to Main Street. Now with over a dozen projects underway, Dr. Peters has become a driving force for change and has committed to bring jobs, apartments and businesses to our downtown core.
Located over the centerfield fence, Sidewalk Development / Tim Elliott has begun construction on “The Stock and Grain Assembly,” the region’s first “Food Hall.” This 36,000-square-foot building will also include retail and office space. Completion date is set for summer 2021.
In addition to these large development projects, I am as excited about the redevelopment of some that are smaller yet, I would argue, just as important to the culture we are striving for, which is to attract new businesses and retain our younger talent.
Plank Street Tavern, located at 138 Church is open. Paddled South Brewing is due to open on Main Street this winter. Splashworks, located at 515 W. English, is a new home décor business with a focus on wall art and decorative pillows. Stratagon, an integrated marketing and technology agency, located at 501 W. English, completely renovated a 4,000-square-foot former dry cleaning business that had been empty for six years.
Let us not forget where it all began — baseball! The Rockers’ season was unfortunately canceled due to COVID-19, but did you know that the Rockers hosted over 275 amateur baseball and softball games at Truist Point since the beginning of June? Outstanding!
Along with this tremendous growth, a big thank you goes to our elected officials and city staff who remain focused and determined to create generational change in High Point. Forward High Point Executive Director Ray Gibbs has been critical to our collective efforts.
At this moment, in the midst of a crisis, High Point has the perfect combination of political will, leadership, philanthropy and private investment. This is a monumental time in High Point’s history. So please remain hopeful. Please believe. Together we are building our future. Buildings are being erected, promises are being fulfilled and dreams are coming to life.
Stay well, and I look forward to seeing you downtown in 2021!
Patrick W. Chapin is president and CEO of Business High Point — Chamber of Commerce / Congdon Yards.