Self-Help to hold groundbreaking for Kent Corner

Dec. 20, 2013 @ 06:09 PM

The real estate arm of Durham-based Self Help, a lending and development organization, plans to hold a groundbreaking Jan. 6 to mark the start of construction on a $13 million development that will feature a start-up co-operative grocery store.

Called “Kent Corner,” the project -- two buildings, green space and parking at West Chapel Hill and Kent streets – should be complete by early 2015.

Buildings on the site, including a church and child care business, have been demolished. A home called the PathWays House at 1115 W. Chapel Hill St. will be moved. It houses a Duke University Chapel one-year residential discernment program for recently graduated Duke alumni. Participants spend 10 months in the house.

The new grocery store, called Durham Central Market, will occupy 10,000 square feet of retail space fronting West Chapel Hill Street. Fundraising is underway for the store, which will have an emphasis on local products.

The Center for Child and Family Health, which is now in the N.C. Mutual Life headquarters building on West Chapel Hill Street, will occupy the majority of the 33,000-square-foot office building facing Kent Street. 

Started in 1996, the center works to alleviate the effects of trauma on children through prevention and treatment services for children and families. The center is a collaborative effort of Duke, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, N.C. Central University, and Child and Parent Support Services.

For the Kent Corner project, SunTrust Bank and its subsidiary, SunTrust Community Capital, are providing project financing supported by their New Markets Tax Credit program.

Self-Help has been working with community and neighborhood groups, the City of Durham and Duke University for nearly a decade on housing and community development. 

The collaboration has produced about 150 units of affordable housing for first-time homeowners and renters. Community planning sessions were held on the Kent Corner redevelopment to ensure it will enhance the neighborhood.

At the groundbreaking, Durham Mayor Bill Bell is expected to speak, as are the executive director of the Center for Child and Family Health, the president of the Durham Central Market board, Self-Help’s executive vice president, Duke’s vice president for Durham and regional affairs and Self-Help’s project leader.

Founded in Durham in 1980, Self-Help is a nonprofit community development lender, real estate developer, and credit union that works with people traditionally underserved by conventional markets.

It owns 20 commercial properties in North Carolina and Washington, D.C.  Most of the properties are historic redevelopments in downtown districts.  In downtown Durham, Self-Help owns and manages six properties, including its own headquarters at 301 W. Main St. and the MDC headquarters at 307 W. Main St.