Groundbreaking for Kent Corner
Ground was broken Monday afternoon to what will soon be the newly developed Kent Corner.
Inside The Cookery before moving the official shovels of dirt on the nearby site, project partners thanked each other and the community for the outpouring and continued support.
“Today we gather to celebrate,” said Tucker Bartlett, executive vice president of Self-Help. “This project has been years in the making. This project is an outpouring of a vision of a community that’s come together over the years.”
The $13 million development will feature Durham Central Market, a start-up co-operative grocery store emphasizing local products, and the Center for Child and Family Health, an agency that works to alleviate the effects of trauma on children through prevention and treatment services.
Due to be completed by early 2015, Durham Central Market will fill 10,000 square feet fronting West Chapel Hill Street while Center for Child and Family Health will fill the bulk of the 33,000-square-foot building and front Kent Street. Kent Corner will also include green space and parking at West Chapel Hill and Kent streets.
“This project will change the physical landscape of this street and the community,” Bartlett added. “This is a community worth investing in. It’s a community surrounded by strong neighborhoods.”
The church and child-care business that were on the site have been demolished, and PathWays House which was home to a one-year residential discernment program for Duke alumni and on the property has been moved.
Project financing has been provided by SunTrust Bank and its subsidiary, SunTrust Community Capital with support from their New Markets Tax Credit program. Self-Help has been working with various community groups, the city of Durham and Duke University for about 10 years on housing and community development.
Robert Murphy, executive director of the Center for Child and Family Health, said that he was honored to be a part of this project.
“The fact that this began as a conversation with Tucker over lunch is really an illustration of how some of the seeds sown throughout Durham come to fruition in a really remarkable way,” he said. “Kent Corner brings us more to the community. These are the families we work with who we’re committed to and who deserve the best.”
The Center for Child and Family Health is a collaborative effort between Duke and N.C. Central Universities as well as the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and the Child and Parent Support Services. It now is housed in the N.C. Mutual Life headquarters on West Chapel Hill Street.
Frank Stasio, board president for Durham Central Market, described the project as one of blind luck and as a community’s willingness to invest in itself.
“It you live in the city of Durham, you know Durham can do it,” Stasio said of what was once a very challenging project. “Durham Central Market is part of a vision for this neighborhood and this city.”
Stasio said that it will be up to Durham Central Market to live up to its promise of providing accessible, affordable and sustainable food in a sustainable neighborhood development project.
Noting that “a priority is revitalizing our inner-city communities,” Durham Mayor Bill Bell said that he is “a strong believer, and the council believes, that if you have strong neighborhoods, you have a strong city.”
Bell added that Kent Corner is another “great thing happening in Durham.”