New Bern plans to build large facility in downtown, following study results

NEW BERN, NC (WNCT) – The results of a two year study is helping the city of New Bern determine redevelopment possibilities in the downtown area.

Over the past few years, there’s been an influx of visitors and residents coming into downtown. This lends for additional retail, residential, and parking spaces.

“If you want to grow you’re gonna have to grow up or your gonna have to grow out. And we feel that growing out in this direction is the appropriate way to go,” said Alderman Dallas Blackiston, Ward 1.

UNC’s School of Government conducted a $110,000 study and market analysis to determine the city’s needs. It focused on several place, including a two acre site on Craven and Pollock Streets, which is currently a surface parking lot.

“There is demand for residential, there’s demand for commercial, and there’s also demand for more hotel space,” said Mark Stephens, New Bern City Manager.

To help with this demand, leaders have decided to build a new facility, expected to be a mixed-use commercial real estate site or hotel.

More shops and residential space creates a need for parking, which is why a public parking deck will likely be included.

It’s a benefit for residents, visitors, and the city.

“It creates a tax base, tax generation, jobs, everything else,” said Stephens. “So essentially you’re creating an economic development through maximizing the density and use of these downtown sites.”

The city is now asking for the public’s input on the proposed concept.

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