Old Efird’s Building
North Carolina| Posted: 12/04/2007
Project Goal: Conversion of a former dry goods and department store into office space
Developer: Self-Help Ventures Fund
Tax Credit Investor: Bank of America CDC
Total Development Cost: $4,740,000
Key Project Financing:
Tax credit equity investment (federal historic and New Markets) from the National Trust Community Investment Fund: $1,115,000
First mortgage from Self-Help Ventures Fund: $1,500,000
Second mortgage from Self-Help Ventures Fund$1,000,000
Construction – 36
Permanent – 44
The five-story property at 272 North Front Street in downtown Wilmington was built in 1906 as a dry goods store. It was best known as the home of Efird’s Department Store, one of the largest merchandising firms in the South. As such, it served as a commercial hub of the downtown. When acquired by Self-Help Ventures Fund in 2000, the property was vacant and in need of a new use.
Between 2001 and 2003, Self-Help Ventures Fund (SHVF) renovated the first-floor lobby and the third and fourth floors. In 2005, SHVF completed the building shell and systems and rehabilitated the second and fifth floors. The scope of work involved the renovation of the lobbies and corridors and installing new walls, doors, lighting and other interior finishes. New plumbing, electrical and mechanical systems were also installed. The building (now known as the Self-Help Center) features nearly 29,000 net rentable square feet of office space for small businesses and nonprofit organizations. Old Efird’s is located on North Front Street, the main commercial street downtown and the heart of both the central business district and the historic district.
The rehabilitation of the Old Efird’s Building is part of a greater revitalization of the vicinity, consisting of the redevelopment of two other neighboring properties. This is important activity for an area designated as an Economic Development Hot Zone, an SBA-designated HUBZone and an “additionally distressed” low-income census tract. One of Efird’s tenants is Self Help Credit Union which has as its mission wealth creation for the underprivileged. The credit union provides loans to small businesses and nonprofit organizations whose financing needs are not met by traditional lenders.