SunTrust Site Redevelopment

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The Town of Wake Forest engaged the Development Finance Initiative (DFI) in December 2018 to assist with attracting private investment for the redevelopment of the former SunTrust building site located at 353 S. White St.

The site is located between Wake Forest’s downtown historic core and Renaissance Place making it a strategic location for redevelopment. The Town intends to see the site developed into a transformative mixed-use project that meets both public and private goals.

Background & Process

The former SunTrust building site is approximately one-acre and is comprised of two Town-owned parcels. The site is bounded by South White Street to the west, Elm Avenue to the south, and Brooks Street to the east. The existing building is approximately 5,300 sq. ft. and currently vacant.

In March 2019, DFI and Town staff met to review findings from the community and parcel analysis and discuss the guiding public interests that will inform the predevelopment process for the project. The guiding public interests for the SunTrust site were informed by the Board of Commissioners, Town staff, current strategic plans, public statements and local stakeholder conversations. On Tuesday, June 18, the Board of Commissioners endorsed the following guiding public interests:

Redevelopment of the former SunTrust site should:

  • Connect the downtown historic core and Renaissance Plaza and serve as a gateway to downtown.

  • Incorporate engaging street-level uses to increase pedestrian activity along White, Elm and Brooks Street.

  • Provide sufficient parking to meet needs of development and other downtown uses.

  • Minimize public investment and maximize private investment.

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The Town and DFI have explored options to expand the project site to meet these guiding public interests more effectively. The Town is excited to announce that it has executed Purchase and Sales Agreements with adjacent property owners as the latest step in its efforts to deliver a project that meets both public and private sector interests.

On Tuesday, June 18, DFI also presented the market analysis to the Board of Commissioners which can be viewed below. In July 2019, The Town of Wake Forest selected JDavis Architects to assist with the development of a conceptual plan for the site and Ramey Kemp & Associates to conduct a parking study to determine the demand for public parking in downtown Wake Forest.

Public Presentations & Meetings

DFI provided an update to the Wake Forest community on Monday, Jan. 10, in the Town Hall Board Chambers.

DFI provided an update to the Town of Wake Forest Board of Commissioners on January 18.

Milestones to Date

  • The Town of Wake Forest engaged the Development Finance Initiative (DFI) in December 2018 to assist the Town with attracting private investment for the redevelopment of the former SunTrust building site located at 353 S. White Street. DFI’s scope of work includes pre-development analysis, solicitation of a private development partner(s), and assistance to the Town with the negotiation of a development agreement with the selected partner(s).

  • In March 2019, DFI and Town staff met to review findings from the community scan and parcel analysis and discuss the guiding public interests for the SunTrust redevelopment.

  • On Tuesday, June 18, 2019, DFI provided the Wake Forest Board of Commissioners with a project update, including details on the market analysis findings and the draft guiding public interests. The Board of Commissioners endorsed the guiding public interests (stated previously) for the redevelopment of the SunTrust site during this meeting.

  • In July 2019, The Town of Wake Forest selected JDavis Architects to assist with the development of conceptual development plans for the site, and hired Ramey Kemp & Associates to conduct a parking study to determine parking demand in downtown Wake Forest.

  • In December 2019, DFI and Town staff met to review the development scenarios for the SunTrust redevelopment site and prepare a program recommendation to the Board of Commissioners.

  • In March 2020, the SunTrust redevelopment project was put on pause due to the COVID-19 Pandemic. The project was resumed in April 2021. 

  • On October 18, 2021, DFI presented the program recommendation to the Board of Commissioners in closed session, including a recommendation for additional property acquisition.

  • On December 7, 2021, the Board of Commissioners approved purchase and sale agreements for the acquisition of portions of the James Warren and Moss and Panciera properties for the SunTrust redevelopment.

  • On February 21, 2022, the Town of Wake Forest and DFI released a “Solicitation for Development Partner Proposals” with an application due date of April 29, 2022. 
  • Several development proposals were received by April 29, 2022, in response to the “Solicitation for Development Partner Proposals.” DFI will perform the evaluations of the proposals during a 4-6 week due diligence period to ensure the solicitation responses are complete and comply with submission requirements, evaluate the feasibility of the proposed program, and contact references.

About DFI

DFI, a program of the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill’s School of Government, partners with local governments to attract private investment for transformative projects by providing specialized finance and development expertise. DFI’s scope of services for the Town of Wake Forest includes a predevelopment process, solicitation of a private development partner, and assistance with negotiations of a development services agreement with the selected partner. 

DFI’s pre-development process involves several key components – public engagement, a tax parcel analysis to understand current conditions in downtown, a site-specific market analysis, site analysis and planning, and a financial feasibility analysis. This process is used to help the Town of Wake Forest identify a final development program that meets both public and private sector interests and find the right development partner to realize its vision for the SunTrust site.

SunTrust Site Redevelopment
Strategic Performance Manager
919-435-9415