High Point Mayor Jay Wagner and City Manager Greg Demko say the city’s downtown is seeing tremendous investment – and that there’s much more to that story than just the new baseball stadium project.
They said strategies to enhance investment there are working like a charm and, over the period of a few years, the change in the city’s once virtually dead downtown area is like night and day.
The two reported on the growth on Thursday, Nov. 29 at a meeting of the Guilford County Economic Development Alliance (GCEDA) in Colfax.
The $35-million baseball stadium project is grabbing all the headlines, but much of the investment is coming from an economic sector High Point has been well known for in the past – the furniture industry.
“We’ve got $57 million in new showrooms coming online,” Wagner said.
He added that the situation has gotten so good that High Point’s downtown is now drawing new development with little marketing.
“We want – instead of having to go out and see people so much – we want people coming to us,” he said. “We’re starting to see that now. I’ve said for a long time that, as mayor, part of my strategy was to be less of a catcher and more of a pitcher.”
Wagner also said that investment related to the stadium is way ahead of schedule.
“Our stadium proforma was $99 million in the first ten years and we’re probably going to hit that in about three,” Wagner said. “So we’re very excited for what’s coming – not just for the investment but for the lifestyle change as well.”
Demko also said he was extremely impressed with the rate at which positive change was occurring in downtown High Point.
“When I first came here, it confused me how we could have such a successful economic development groove and our tax base was as flat as it could be,” the city manager said. “It all boiled down to the core of the city. We came up with strategies and it’s kicking butt. People are coming to us now wanting to invest in High Point.”