The City of Orangeburg is excited to announce that it will soon be accepting proposals from development firms for the redevelopment of the Railroad Corner in downtown. The redevelopment of the Railroad Corner is part of a broader effort by the City to revitalize the Russell Street commercial corridor.
Sidney Evering, City of Orangeburg Administrator said this project would not be possible without the guidance and support of City Council, as well as collaborative efforts with federal and state representatives and officials, the County, Claflin University, South Carolina State University, and the vital input that has been provided by the public.
“We are very excited to move forward to the next phase of the Railroad Corner development,” Evering said. “We are very cognizant of the importance of this project, its historical significance, and the transformative impact it will have on Orangeburg and the surrounding community.”
For the past year, the City has engaged in significant pre-development feasibility analysis on the 1.5-acre site in partnership with the Development Finance Initiative, a program of UNC-Chapel Hill’s School of Government.
This work has included a market analysis, a site assessment to determine a design program that could maximize development potential, and a financial feasibility study to ensure the project’s economic viability.
Throughout the process, the City and DFI held a series of community engagement sessions, working with Orangeburg residents, downtown stakeholders, and Claflin University and South Carolina State University students to better understand community-wide public interests.
City of Orangeburg Mayor Michael Butler said developing the Railroad Corner has been a community effort and he is eager for everyone to see plans for the future project.
“This has certainly been a community effort,” Butler said. “We are excited to finally be able to show the residents of Orangeburg that these efforts are coming together and that we are moving forward. I, along with members of City Council, look forward to seeing the fruit of everyone’s hard work.”
The City will be requesting proposals from qualified development teams to include a mixed-use development of ground-floor retail, upper story residential units, unique public gathering spaces, and preservation of the historic State Theater for a potential Civil Rights Museum. Other aspects of the redevelopment include streetscape improvements along Russell and Boulevard streets, enhanced safety measures for street/railroad crossing, and the potential for an elevated pedestrian walkway spanning Magnolia and Boulevard streets.
This solicitation process will culminate in the selection of a development partner (or partners) and formal negotiation of a public-private development partnership.
By the end of February, the City will release a formal Solicitation for Development Partner Proposals on the City’s website at https://www.orangeburg.sc.us/railroadcorner.
The Solicitation will remain open for a period of 90 days, and the City hopes to select a private development partner by early Summer 2022. Interested development parties should contact Sidney Evering, firstname.lastname@example.org, with the City of Orangeburg, and Sonyia Turner, email@example.com (DFI Project Manager) for additional information.
Additional details regarding the Railroad Corner, the pre-development process and community engagement feedback can be found on the City’s website at https://www.orangeburg.sc.us/railroadcorner.
The UNC Chapel Hill School of Government (SOG) established the Development Finance Initiative (DFI) in 2011 to assist local governments with achieving their community and economic development goals. DFI partners with communities to attract private investment for transformative projects by providing specialized finance and real estate development expertise.
“DFI have been great partners to work with every step of the way,” Evering said. “We look forward to continuing to work with them and subsequent developers who can help bring this project to fruition – it’s a project the Orangeburg community deserves.”
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