Thursday, February 25, 2016

Triad Sees Success with New Transportation Policy Passed by NCGA

Prior to the 2015 NC General Assembly legislative session, North Carolina’s transportation network face an uncertain future. Decaying infrastructure had resulted in the 37th worst bridge safety rating and the 2nd highest fatality rating on non-Interstate rural roads of any state in the nation, while growing congestion meant North Carolina drivers spent an extra $6.5 billion annually in additional vehicle operating costs, lost time and wasted fuel – approximately $1000 extra dollars/year for each Triad driver.  To make matters worse, elected leaders had cut and capped transportation revenues on numerous occasions and allowed transfers out of the Highway Fund to pay for non-transportation expenses.  All of this was impacted NC’s competitive business environment.

Sticking with the status quo would have only further constricted the flow of commerce and harm businesses’ ability to compete for new growth with each passing year. Recognizing the challenge, state elected leaders agreed to focus on the state’s transportation network – and funding it with a stable, reliable, recurring revenue source was in order to ensure our fast-growing state will remain connected to, and competitive in, the 21st-Century global economy.In 2015 legislative session, the following was seen:

  •  Additional $1.158 billion in transportation revenue availability over biennium
  •  $708 million in new, recurring revenue to fund future transportation projects
  •  $70 million in port modernization investments to better position North Carolina to compete for global shipping
  •  No more revenue transfers from Highway Fund to General Fund, putting trust back in transportation funding
  •  Streamlined procedures to ensure effective long-term project delivery over entire transportation network
  •  Support for 1.5 million new direct and indirect jobs over the next 15 years
  •  Securing a transportation future that keeps North Carolina’s commerce lifelines flowing for decades to come

You may be wondering why this is important to the Triad area.  Many projects will now be advanced forward in a quicker time manner.  One of the more important projects for our region is I-74 or the Northern Beltway in Forsyth County. If you travel around Business 40 in the Kernersville area, you’ll see construction occurring. This project was advanced many years ahead of schedule because of the passage of new revenue and the economic benefits it will yield the region. Also, hopefully the property owners who have been held up with this project will be able to see long-overdue closure. This project alone will generate more than 30,000 jobs for the Triad region and will add over $2 Billion to the state’s economy.  We do not think about our transportation network as important to real estate but real estate cannot function without a strong transportation network. 

This project along with others are very important in creating a dynamic region. Thankfully, we are generating a strong transportation network in the Triad which will help attract, grow and create jobs and therefore a strong real estate economy. 

More information on I-74 can be found here:

Friday, February 12, 2016

Tour de Food - A Fun Way to Experience Winston-Salem

Saturdays in winter are always tough and somewhat deceptive. In my case, if I’m not working, I’m usually up around 8 and hope that Jake has his special French press coffee on it’s way. This is definitely a weekend treat, as weekdays don’t allow for this type of leisure. The deception comes in when you look out the window and see the sun brightly shining and you immediately long for warm summer days, as opposed to what you know will greet you once you step outside—brisk and fresh Carolina air. What to do on a day like today? How do you spend your day if all of the chores are complete, the yard is dormant and in no need of a trim and your kid(s) are out of town? Well, let me give you a suggestion.

Last Saturday, Jake and I, along with two couples decided to take advantage of the Tour de Food, which is a walking tour of downtown Winston-Salem and some of it’s featured restaurants and markets. The tour began at 1:30 at the Jeffrey Adams, which is the swanky sister restaurant of 4th Street Filling Station. We met our tour guide and proceeded to walk and talk and eat and drink our way through downtown over a three hour period. Stops included Bibbs BBQ, Breakfast of Course, Black Mountain Chocolate, 6th and Vine and Washington Perk. Each venue offered a sampling of food and drink and included a time for questions and info. We met other couples from the area and interestingly enough, all of us were local to the area. We all agreed that the tour was great for us and would be exceptional for newcomers.

After the tour, we proceeded to Foothills Brewery to sample their latest seasonal batch of Sexual Chocolate which was just released that day. The patrons had come from all over the state for a pint of this coffee/chocolaty goodness. We proceeded to dinner at Quatra Basta, which is the newest Italian restaurant in downtown and has the same owner as Spring House, which is just up the street in the old Bahnson homeplace. Delicious wine, delicious specials and fabulous atmosphere. One of our friends commented that it had a “New York” feel, with Triad prices. So true.

My point in telling you about our Saturday, is that Winston has so much to offer, even if you’ve lived and worked here the majority of your adult life. There is always something or someplace new. As I describe to my clients, it’s like a “little” Asheville. Very eclectic and artsy, yet with a sense of place and an undercurrent of traditional values. It’s a super-tolerant town, given that most of it’s original residents were headed to our area from the mountains and other rural areas to form a town built on farming and manufacturing, yet growing today through medicine and education.

So this morning, as I met two of my former clients for coffee and a pain du chocolat at Atelier, which is a French pastry and coffee shop. Amazing find is the best way I can describe this shop. After speaking at length with the owner, Pablo, a graduate of the renowned Cordon Bleu culinary school, you can see why business owners from the Triad are figuring out that Winston-Salem has a lot to offer. Why not treat yourself this holiday weekend and let the city “love on you” a little bit. I look forward to your comments on the best places in town! Cheers!