the Wilmington Convention Center  |  September 15-18, 2018 Wilmington, NC
September 15-18, 2018

Historic Preservation

Stories with Impact: May

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Emma Haney:  So they produced flannel here and other textiles until 1982 when all operations shut down and the mill sat empty for about 20 years which is really dangerous for a building to be just completely empty and abandoned.

Benjamin Briggs: On my second day of work in 2003, I got a phone call from somebody that said, “You’ve got to do something to save the Cascade Saloon.”

James Andrus: About 15 years ago we were contacted with asking for help to try to protect the property –  it got in really bad shape some of the roofs have collapsed; some of the floors had collapsed; most of the plaster had been taken out or fallen.

BB: This is an iconic building for our city of Greensboro –  it is over a hundred and ten years old at this point. Eventually the city of Greensboro condemned the building for public safety concerns. It was filled with refuse and material from a previous owner it was a sort of a health hazard because of the possibility that bricks could fall off and hurt somebody.

EH: Construction started on this in 1898 as a former Cone textile mill opened by Moses and Cesar Cone. At one point it was the largest flannel producer in the entire world. When we acquired it as a developer we kind of just had to dive right in into a huge project with a lot of challenges. A lot of the buildings they didn’t have windows they needed a whole new roof the site had a lot of environmental issues that needed to be remediated.

Nancy Winslow: The house is actually the home of the founder of the BB&T, Branch Banking and Trust. It has been in this area and we didn’t really want to lose it from this area so Preservation North Carolina worked really hard and for a long time to find somebody that could bring it here and restore it.

JA: I like a challenge I like when somebody says you can’t do it that’s me I can do it.

NW: And it is a challenge, it is like no other property anywhere around here there are houses that have been restored but nothing to this significance certainly from the beginning of its life right down the road to being moved to this forty acre location.

BB: These are the most active train tracks in the American Southeast connecting New Orleans in Atlanta to Washington in New York. We have to be on a schedule with the train company to make sure that when a train’s coming that work stops and everything pulls back so we don’t interfere with the train scheduling.

JA: It takes a lot of people working with the client and usually to try figure out the use of the property use of the spaces we’ve got architects, engineers for the structural work, foundation work, that kind of stuff; and then you have all the crews you’ve got all the electrical, plumbing, heating, air – and there’s a lot of people that touch a project like this.

EH: There’s a high level of craftsmanship required to really redevelop and get a building like this stabilized and back up and running. We’ve worked with just a number of local organizations; city and county organizations looking at business development and how we can incorporate low income housing and we’ve worked with Parks and Rec on developing a greenway path that would connect to downtown in the downtown greenway system. So this is not a project that can take place in a vacuum.

Maggie Gregg: For every million dollars spent on a restoration project, approximately 41 jobs are created. These houses are an important visual representation of our collective history. A space that you can step into and really visualize and see those things come to life rather than just reading about them in a book.

EH: For a while there was a lot more suburban development and kind of moving away from those city centers and I think we’re seeing a kind of a swing back towards downtown redevelopment and revitalization efforts and people really coming back to connect with historic structures and I primarily think it’s because it speaks to the place that they’re in and it has such a strong placemaking ability when you are able to reactivate a historic building.

BB: Well historic preservation is key to community revitalization. Obviously the more that you invest in our historic resources, our buildings, whether they’re in downtown locations or they’re in historic inner-city neighborhoods, streetcar suburbs; all of that brings money back to our tax base. These buildings when they’re rehabilitated often housed jobs as the Cascade Saloon is a great example of.

EH: We’ve seen a lot of successful people of all groups and all demographics and whether it’s businesses or attorney’s offices or an artist wanting a studio or people wanting a place to live or just to go to a cool restaurant – people across all spectrums really connect with a project like this.

NW: I have enjoyed going through historic houses and old houses and dilapidated houses and being able to find somebody that could see the beauty and see the significance and wanted to continue its history.

MG: Typically, a restoration is going to be more expensive than a new-build house however there are some incentives in the state through the State Historic Preservation Office that are tax credits that be can be taken advantage of that are there to offset that cost so in the end you can end up doing some of these projects or equal to what you would do in a new construction property.

BB: We did utilize national and state-level historic preservation tax credits without them this project would have really been impossible so we’re glad to have so many partners including some community partners here in Greensboro that did donate money to see that this building –  iconic building –  was restored. It’s just undergone a two to three million dollar restoration project – it is now offices for the Christman Corporation and it’s back on the tax rolls and it’s safe and we’re enjoying watching the finishing touches.

EH: We get people who come and say “Oh wow. I had no idea this was here'” or “I haven’t been out here in years like I thought this was just a rundown mill this is really amazing,” and they’re happy to know that this is in their city. The people that actually used to work here in the mill, they’ll come and they haven’t come since the mill closed down in the 80s and they’re just amazed and so happy to see that it’s preserved and it’s active again and other people -future generations – are able to form those connections with this place.

MG: And you’ve got to sort of come up with creative ways to make it work but the end result is this very significant house that would have been lost is now going to be a home again and it’s going to continue to function for years and years to come.

NW: The towns are all trying to revitalize their downtown areas and so the new people that are moving here are jumping right on boar and so it’s been just so much fun for me to be able to be a part of that movement.

EH: And its really been a full community-wide effort to partner with us and help make this huge project a success for the whole town.

BB: It’s all about sort of saving the best of the past putting a new wine in an old bottle and sort of having that really cool edgy blend of the modern and progressive with the whole historic and traditional. That’s what it’s all about is finding the right property owners for the right historic buildings.

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Historic Preservation

In celebration of Preservation Month (May) and National Small Business Week (April 29-May 5, 2018), we explored preservation efforts around the state, celebrating historic preservation projects and small businesses that occupy these spaces and have brought them back to life.

In the past few months, we’ve been sharing stories of growth, re-invention, and triumph in communities around the state. One recurring theme we’ve witnessed in North Carolina is the resurgence of “Main Street USA.” Most main streets across America consist of older, historic commercial districts and buildings that once served as the community’s downtown area and central gathering place for residents. Over time, people moved away from downtown districts and into more suburban areas. Businesses followed, and somewhere along the way the indoor mall was born. Small businesses on Main Street could no longer compete or attract the customer base to thrive. The result was abandoned store fronts, empty streets, and dilapidated buildings and infrastructure that deterred tourism.

Today, Main Street USA is a movement. Communities are bringing their once faltering downtown districts back to life. Residents are invested in the movement and are helping to clean up once bustling small business areas. In fact, the Main Street movement taking shape across the nation is “one of the most powerful economic development tools in the nation,” according to

Be the star of your own story.

At the heart of America are cities, towns, and communities that are the pulse of all Americans – friends, family, and colleagues. It’s our communities, from coast-to-coast and small towns to urban meccas, that help make us who we are. They help to define us, celebrating, supporting, shaping, and lifting us in our time of need. Within every community are untold stories – of resiliency, hardships, growth, entrepreneurship, personal development, history, and homeownership – itching to be brought into the spotlight. It’s our mission to tell these stories and share them with the world as part of our #XCHANGE18 unconventional convention.

We need your help! As REALTORS®, you are epic relationship builders, close-knit community members, and master problem-solvers. You have your fingers on the pulse of the neighborhoods, towns, communities, and cities you live, work, and play in. These are your stories. Be the star of your own story by helping us bring them to life.

Below are the monthly themes we are crafting stories around. If you see a topic you identify with, please email Tracey Gould at

  • Workforce Housing/Jobs
  • Creative Use of Real Estate
  • Economic Development/Smart Growth
  • Advocacy and Legislative Impact
  • Education
  • Historic Preservation/Downtown Main Street Programs/National Small Business Week

Pre-registration for the Conference is closed. Onsite registration will be available.