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Durham, development and gentrification

Worth your time today: an interesting long-read in the News & Observer about Durham’s boom – and whether minority-owned businesses have benefited.

(Spoiler: It does not appear that they have.)

From the piece:

Pre-revitalization, in 2004, just 5 percent of downtown businesses were minority-owned. That’s 42 of 824 businesses at the time. As the city center was redeveloped, instead of increasing, that number dropped. Just 3.5 percent of downtown businesses were minority-owned a decade later. That’s 39 minority-owned businesses of 1,116. This year looked better, with a growing number of minority-owned businesses, including start-ups.

Thompson said that it’s harder to track minority business ownership demographics after a change in state law, but that there are many more in 2018, including dozens at American Underground, the start-up hub. Wanting to attract and retain diverse business ownership as it grows is not exclusive to Durham.

“This is not a concern just unique to Durham, not just unique to downtown. All communities that are growing are dealing with this,” she said. “We’re not unique, not behind, not doing a poor job — nor leading the band,”  [Head of Downtown Durham, Inc. Nicole] Thompson said.

As people continue to flock to the Triangle — and to Durham specifically as the “it” city — the piece gives an interesting overview of what that means for the character of the city, what sort of businesses and residential development are proliferating and how the city got to this point.

Make time to read the whole thing.

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