Downtown Catalyst Study

Citizens: We are hosting more roundtable sessions at Davidson Town Hall on the next phase of the catalyst study and request your input. Sessions (the June 2 session is a pilot with 10 spaces for citizens, the other two sessions are identical and have spaces for 30 citizens each) are scheduled for:
  • Thursday, June 2 from 7:00 to 8:30 p.m. (FULL)
  • Friday, June 3 from 8:30 to 10:00 a.m.
  • Thursday, June 9 from 6:00 to 7:30 p.m.

Here are the presentation and financial scenarios from the May 24 work session. Here is the video from the May 24 work session (fast-forward to 23:55).

Here is a summary of the notes from the February 2016 roundtable sessions.

Here is the presentation of the themes presented at the March 22 meeting.
Full Catalyst Study Area
Why is the town considering the Downtown Catalyst Feasibility Study?
The possibility of adding shops, restaurants, offices, residences, and parking along the west side of Main Street in front of town hall and on the town-owned land on Jackson Street is being studied by the Development Finance Initiative (DFI), a program of the UNC School of Government. Their team is providing specialized finance and development expertise to the Town of Davidson to determine the potential for a partnership to develop the area. The objectives include further enlivening downtown, and invigorating development on South Main Street. Other goals are to add shops, restaurants, offices, residences, parking, outdoor green space, and a permanent home for the Davidson Farmer’s Market on town-owned land. The study currently shows a plan to raze town hall and relocate it to another downtown location.

DFI catalyst site cropped

Why is the town considering this project? At first, our historic downtown Main Street was our only retail area, then the South Main area developed, and then in the early 2000s, development began at the Circles @ 30, based on plans that date back to the 1980s. With the retail, office, and restaurant space we currently have in town, we are at a 98% occupancy rate. Our citizen surveys show that residents want more shopping and employment opportunities in town.

Our planning principles mandate placing buildings up close to the street with parking behind, but the configuration of Davidson Town Hall and its parking lots does not adhere to this principle. We believe we should conform. 

Our 2010 comprehensive plan, with over 150 citizens’ input, calls for a “better mix of appropriate commercial uses downtown,” “a viable economy that is diverse and sustainable,” and “jobs for residents of Davidson.” The comprehensive plan also designates downtown as a mixed-use node, and it connects the South Main commercial district to the historic “postcard” area of Main Street. One of our goals is to encourage pedestrian traffic to South Main and we think this potential solution including active, pedestrian-scaled building frontage and public spaces will draw people down the street. Market demand analysis shows we can support more retail, office, and residential space downtown. We also recognize there is a need for more parking downtown and would like to address that issue through this project. 

After reporting to the board of commissioners and citizens at board meetings in October and December 2014 and August 2015, and hearing from citizens at public information sessions in February and June, DFI has incorporated all input into a feasibility analysis. The DFI team of consultants and architects will return to Davidson on October 20 to share the latest plans and some renderings to allow citizens to visualize how the area could look, and get feedback from citizens.

“We want our citizens to learn more about this study and provide feedback to guide the process,” said Economic Development Manager Kim Fleming.

Do you have feedback on this project? Please contact Economic Development Manager Kim Fleming at or 704-940-9622 or fill out a form at town hall.