Tarboro to showcase 'opportunity spaces'


The former JE Simmons Furniture building is one of 11 ‘opportunity spaces' that will be available for touring by potential investors on Thursday during the Downtown Tarboro Investment Showcase.


Staff Writer

Saturday, September 14, 2019

TARBORO — Tarboro is a unique community in eastern North Carolina, in that its downtown is vibrant and healthy.

The empty building is the rarity and none — not a single one — have boarded up windows or rolled down security doors that are hanging from the frame.

The streets are clean and well-lit, signage is good and the traffic flows well.

And the Town of Tarboro and Tarboro Development Corp., in conjunction with Preservation North Carolina, Carolinas Gateway Partnership, NC East Alliance and ElectriCities, will be showcasing available properties in downtown Tarboro at what is being billed as the Downtown Tarboro Investment Showcase beginning at 11:30 a.m. on Thursday.

“I don’t call them vacant properties, because I think the word vacant has a negative connotation,” said Tina Turner, commercial Development & main street coordinator for the town. “I call them opportunity spaces.”

Parker said the idea for the event stemmed from a similar one last spring in Elizabeth City, which she attended after learning of the open house at the last minute.

In a press release sent out by the Carolinas Gateway Partnership, it was noted: “The Economic Vitality Committee of the Tarboro Development Corporation has identified 12 property owners that have an interest in selling or are seeking partnering investors for their ‘opportunity spaces.’ Each of the 12 properties will be open for viewing during this event. The event will allow you the chance to learn about the guidelines and benefits of utilizing historic tax credits and why Tarboro is a great place to invest.

Since that time, a contract has been signed on one of the properties, meaning only 11 will be available for viewing.

“I’m very excited about it,” Parker said. “We don’t know who will show up, but we’ve gotten a good response from the property owners and we have a great downtown.”

She cautioned that the event is not for someone just to look at a building they may have wondered about.

“This is not a public event,” Parker noted. “We are inviting potential investors we have become aware of, some of them local, in the hopes of connecting them with the property owners and bringing additional investment into historic downtown Tarboro.”

Investors and property owners will hear why they should invest in Tarboro and get a local and regional outlook. They also will have the chance to learn about federal and state tax credits and tour the properties before closing with a social hour at Providence Bank prior to the start of the final Downtown Live concert of the year.

“It’s not an open house. It’s a strategic event and we have a strategic plan in place,” Parker said.

Parker said the partnership with the various organization stems from the fact Tarboro Development Corp. wants to be a resource center.

“We want to be able to offer opportunities to the property owners,” she explained. “We don’t have a lot of opportunity space available and we want the opportunity space owners to realize that if a property is not bringing in revenue, it can put the property at-risk for falling behind in upkeep.

“We don’t have anything to the point of condemnation, but some do need immediate attention. We don’t want them to get to that point, obviously.”

Parker said a number of investors are being invited.

“We don’t want to discount anyone,” she said. “If someone is genuinely interested, they can contact me to register and we can talk.”

A check of records with Edgecombe County and the Secretary of State revealed that 10 of the 11 properties on the list are owned locally.

The properties include:

201 N. Main — Circa late 1800s. Recognized on the National Historic Register

208 N. Main — Former JE Simmons Furniture store from 1910-2016. Recognized on the National Historic Register

230 N. Main — Former Adler’s Department Store, circa late 1800s. Recognized on the National Historic Register

300 N. Main — Former Redmond Shackleford House, circa 1885. Pivotal structure on the National Register of Historic Places.

305 N. Main —Opens on to both Main and Pitt streets. Once occupied by Belk-Tylers and later by Marrow-Pitt Hardware. Portions recognized on the National Historic Register.

409 N. Main — Two buildings with unified facade. Buildings circa 1901 and 1908. Second-floor available. Portions recognized on the National Historic Register.

421 N. Main — Mobley’s Tarboro Drug from 1922-1973. Most recently Bryan Drug. Portions recognized on the National Historic Register.

514 N. Main — Colonial Theater, circa 1919. Military mural on south side is largest in the state. Recognized on the National Historic Register.

110-114 E. St. James — Circa 1931. Recognized on the National Historic Register.

410 Trade — Former Harris-Teeter and IGA Grocery, 20,800 square feet. Circa 1974.

410 St. Andrew — Two-story office building of 14,000 square feet circa 1957. Not recognized on the National Historic Register.

For more information or to RSVP, contact Parker at tinaparker@tarboro-nc.com or 252-641-4242 or 252-544-0219.