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ADDC recaps growth in downtown Albemarle

While Pfeiffer University’s long wait on a USDA loan may have slowed their plans down, it doesn’t seem to have slowed much in downtown Albemarle as a whole.

According to the Albemarle Downtown Development Corporation’s annual report, five new and three expanding businesses created 23 full-time jobs and 20 part-time jobs in the area over the past year.

That didn’t come without some losses, though. Five businesses were closed in that same time frame, but the downtown still netted 15 full-time jobs and 7 part-time jobs overall.

“Five Points Public House really had a lot to do with those numbers,” Main Street Manager and ADDC Director Joy Almond said. “We’re lucky to have them in the downtown.”

In addition, a number of new property improvement projects took place throughout the downtown this last year, as well. Four businesses redid their building facades, two buildings were rehabilitated and four community improvement projects took place in the downtown.

Between that, downtown events, 878 volunteer hours and other odds and ends, a total of $3.6 million was invested into the downtown, about $496,000 in public dollars and $3.1 million in private dollars.

“Those volunteer hours are especially important,” Almond said, noting that the monetary value of this year’s volunteer hours was about $20,500. “We couldn’t do what we do without their support.”

Now that Pfeiffer has secured the loan it needed to construct a new campus downtown, ADDC staff are anticipating a bigger spike in downtown growth next year.

To prepare for that, they applied for and then received a national accreditation through the national Main Street Center this year. Moving forward that will make them eligible for more state and federal resources.

In addition they plan to take on a new social media coordinator in the coming year to promote events in the downtown. While the ADDC already organizes such posts, the new position will free up current staff to pursue other downtown opportunities, staff explained. And currently there is a grant available through Electricities of N.C. to help fund that.

“It would give us a more consistent voice,” said Nancy Lipe, chairwoman of the ADDC Promotions Committee. “We want to use our followers and that platform to promote everything going on in the downtown.”

Some of the other initiatives the ADDC plans to take on next year include improvements to Market Station (such as replacing the roof and doorways), forming a Friends of Market Station community group to support future projects, continuing work on a database of available properties and further alleyway improvements/art.

“We’re very excited about the direction things are going,” Almond said.