Karen Hobson the new executive director for Historic Salisbury Foundation

Published 3:04 pm Monday, March 14, 2016

SALISBURY — Historic Salisbury Foundation announced today the appointment of Karen L. Hobson as executive director effective immediately.

Hobson returned to Salisbury in 2012, restoring the historic Wright-Hobson house that has been in her family for almost 50 years. She served as a member of HSF’s board of trustees from 2013 until the present.

She takes the helm at Historic Salisbury Foundation having trained as an architect and been involved in real estate and redevelopment projects for more than three decades.

“Having observed Salisbury for much of my life, I am continually amazed by Historic Salisbury Foundation’s positive impact on the community,” Hobson said in a press release.

“The foundation, its leaders, supporters and volunteers have worked diligently to keep the built environment of Salisbury intact. We enjoy their success every day. I am honored to be leading the foundation.”

Hobson replaces Brian M. Davis, who left HSF last fall to take a preservation position in Louisiana.

Hobson is the daughter of the late Edwin S. “Teeny” and Helen Hobson of Salisbury. Her family ties to this area go back five generations when Samuel Augustus and Anne Moorehead Hobson purchased a farm in Jerusalem from the Pearson family around 1848.

Her aunt, the late Anne Hobson Murdoch, was a longtime member of HSF’s board of trustees, as well as a charter member of the organization.

Hobson has a bachelor of environmental design in architecture from N.C. State University and an MBA in finance from the University of Chicago.

Until 2012, Hobson operated through New York-based Hobson Associates Limited, which she founded in 1989 to further her interest in complex real estate assignments.

Her clients included the Miami Beach Redevelopment Agency, Yale University, Australian City Properties and the Tourism Ministry of Ghana, among others.

At Yale she worked with the university to redevelop a key retail corridor and improve the blighted neighborhoods adjacent to the campus. Prior to forming Hobson Associates, Hobson spent five years at Credit Suisse First Boston, where she was involved in real estate development and in raising debt and equity for real estate projects.

There, Hobson was involved in the early development of Canary Wharf in London and a controversial project in New York using the air rights over Grand Central Terminal.

Hobson enjoys unique challenges, such as running the New York Marathon (once), climbing Mount Kilimanjaro (twice), selling 1,500 head of cattle forward (while working on a turnaround project in Western Australia), and collecting African masks and artifacts.

According to the press release, Hobson plans to solidify the foundation’s finances and its endowment over the next two years. She will also work to expand HSF’s neighborhood revitalization efforts, drawing on her extensive real estate and redevelopment experience.

Susan G. Sides, the foundation’s president, said, “We are excited to begin a new chapter for Historic Salisbury Foundation with Karen Hobson as our executive director.”

Historic Salisbury Foundation is a private, nonprofit 501(c)3 organization whose mission is to preserve, protect and revitalize the historic fabric of Salisbury and Rowan County. It receives no tax money for operations and all donations are tax-deductible to the fullest extent of the law.