Salisbury awarded $875,000 grant to purchase downtown building
Published 12:05 am Sunday, June 19, 2022
SALISBURY — The city is a significant step closer to establishing an event center downtown after receiving a $875,000 grant from the state.
Salisbury is one of 30 local governments across North Carolina that were awarded grants from the N.C. Department of Commerce’s Rural Transformation Grant Fund. The fund was established as a “new source of support for rural economic development projects” and is financed by federal COVID-19 relief dollars. Spencer received $900,000 from the Rural Transformation Grant Fund that it will use to develop its downtown park project.
Salisbury plans on using the grant to purchase the mostly-vacant building at 130 S. Main St. The former Wells Fargo bank building is currently owned by Greg Alcorn, the founder and CEO of Salisbury-based Global Contact Services. Families First, a nonprofit whose mission is to “to strengthen all Rowan County families by providing information, education, prevention and support services,” is the building’s only tenant.
Alcorn purchased the building in April 2021 and initially intended to transform the first floor into a co-op marketplace to serve downtown’s growing residential population. Those plans never materialized.
The city in May entered into an option contract to purchase the building. The contract gives Salisbury exclusive purchasing rights for the next five months while it pays $10,000 per month. The total purchase price would be approximately $900,000 — the tax value of the property. The monthly payments would be counted toward the overall price.
With the grant funding now in hand, the city plans on exploring the feasibility of transforming the building into an event center and offices for the Parks and Recreation Department staff. A big part of that is determining how much renovations would cost.
“It’s exciting, but now we have to channel some of that energy to figure out what’s next,” said Nick Aceves, director of parks and recreation.
The event center would serve as a downtown complement to the Salisbury Civic Center at 315 S. Martin Luther King Ave. The city covets the 51 parking spots behind the building, as well as its proximity to Bell Tower Green park.