City officials are giving an enthusiastic thumbs up to a plan to help create a place where culinary and other inventive start-up businesses can grow.
Backers of 1001 — a name based on the project’s site in the building at 1001 S. Marshall Street — received a unanimous endorsement of their plans on Monday from the Winston-Salem City Council’s Finance Committee, where members said last month that the group was asking for too much city money.
Proponents brought forward a revised plan that calls for an investment by the city of $2 million from economic development bond funds, instead of $4 million as originally proposed.
The groups working together on the plan also removed $2 million in city-county tax-based incentives from the financing proposal.
The result was a big win for the culinary start-up space, which comes up for a full council vote on May 21.
“I appreciate the hard work,” Council Member Jeff MacIntosh told the plan proponents, after hearing of the revised financing during the Finance Committee meeting.
“The plan makes more sense now. I think it will be a big success.”
Four companies, all with experience in start-ups or urban renewal, are behind the $26-million plan to revamp the former Hewitt Business Center near the Old Salem Visitor Center into a space that provides space for start-up culinary and other businesses, and support services as well.
Companies will be able to share use of a commercial kitchen, engage in culinary workforce training, and hire people: Some 200 jobs may eventually come to the companies that house themselves in the center, with the eventual goal of moving out on their own.
Those involved in the project include Margaret Norfleet-Neff, manager of Beta Verde LLC and one of the organizers of Old Salem’s Cobblestone Farmer’s Market, and Bill Struever, manager of Cross Street Partners in Baltimore. Struever is president of a company that had once planned to lead development of the Wake Forest Innovation Quarter.
Others in on the 1001 project are Blackpine Development Co., headed by Dewey Anderson, who is involved in West End Mill Works, and John H. Bryan, one of the owners of Krankie’s and also involved in West End Mill Works.
The larger costs of the project come from the sale of historic and other tax credits, but the group plans to raise more money from grants and fund-raising activities than originally proposed: $3 million from these sources, verses $1 million.
“We have made the adjustments and we are eager to break ground this summer,” Bryan told the Finance Committee.
Struever told the committee that one idea council members proposed last month, that of doing the project in phases, is also part of the group’s revised plan.
The future of the building at 1001 S. Marshall has long been a concern to some involved with Old Salem, since it stands so close to that attraction.
Spending from the city money would include creating a connection to the Strollway that passes nearby, and other construction costs.
Originally the site of the Bahnson Company, the 1924 building in the 1980s became the Page Business and Technology Center, then Hewitt Business Center and, most recently, West Salem Square.
The building has 130,000 square feet of space inside. Proponents of the center believe that it could become a catalyst for nearby development and lead to $30 million invested in nearby property over five years, as housing and other commercial uses move in.
Winston-Salem Mayor Allen Joines called 1001 “a great project” for enhancing the growth of business here.
“I can see this fitting into our city’s effort to create an entrepreneurial environment,” Joines said.