The economic development of downtown Greensboro continues on an upward trend according to President of Downtown Greensboro Inc.  (DGI) and Greensboro City Councilmember Zack Matheny, speaking at the annual fall event sponsored by DGI held at the Cadillac Service Garage on East Market Street on Thursday, Oct. 19.

Matheny told the crowd that there was currently $800 million in downtown economic development in the pipeline, including two new residential developments, an AC Hotel, new restaurants, the expansion of Natty Greene’s and the revitalization of the old train depot at the corner of South Elm Street and Smothers Place built in 1889.

When most people in Greensboro think of the train depot, they think of the Doug Galyon Depot on Washington Street built in 1927 and renovated to become a multi-modal transportation center, not the old train depot on South Elm that it replaced.

Matheny said that in the past year there have been 8.4 million visits to downtown Greensboro and 23 new businesses had opened. Those new businesses include 13 new restaurants and bars and 10 service and retail businesses. Matheny also noted that 12 outdoor patios had been added to downtown restaurants.

He noted that the Downtown Greensboro Ambassador Program has assisted 93,000 people during the past year.

Matheny also said that DGI had made its largest outside investment in a partnership with North Carolina A&T State University to develop self-driving shuttles to connect the A&T campus with downtown Greensboro. The shuttle service was launched in September.

Matheny said, “This is an exciting time for our city center and our time is now. Beyond just our borders, a thriving downtown is critical to the success of our community. This is everyone’s downtown and together we can continue to activate and grow in a way that support the social and economic development of our city center and improves the quality of life for all Greensboro residents.”

Matheny noted the tremendous economic growth in the area including the Toyota battery plant at the Greensboro Randolph Megasite, Boom Supersonic and all the growth at the Piedmont Triad International Airport, the Publix distribution center that was providing thousands of jobs and said that a “vibrant downtown” was a key part of bringing that growth to the area.