GROWTH & DEVELOPMENT
By Michelle Cassell
Chapel Hill’s Enterprise Zone will be the location of a new headquarters for Carolina Donor Services, currently located in Durham. The company plans to build a 50,000-square-foot building at 7000 Millhouse Road.
“We are very excited to announce their decision,” said Mayor Pam Hemminger. “This is exactly the kind of business we were hoping to attract to the area when we pre-zoned this area for light industrial business opportunities. We are honored that this life-saving organization has chosen Chapel Hill.”
Carolina Donor Services is a nonprofit that is the largest tissue donation organization in North Carolina. The company, whose service area includes 100 hospitals and four transplant centers, serves more than 7.2 million people in North Carolina and Virginia.
The future headquarters, in the north of town, will be easily accessible from Interstate 40 and centrally located between among four transplant centers —
Vidant Medical Center in Greenville, Wake Forest Baptist Health in Winston-Salem, Duke University Medical Center in Durham and UNC Medical Center in Chapel Hill.
Initially the company will move 70 of its 130 employees to the new headquarters. “The expansion to the Chapel Hill facility provides us with the opportunity to address current staffing needs and potential increases in the future as we continue to grow,” said Chuck Heald, director of marketing and Communications for Carolina Donor Services.
“We have experienced tremendous growth in the past few years and we are bursting at the seams in our current facility. Our new building will enable us to continue to grow and save more lives.”
“Our goal for the enterprise zone is to bring more jobs, tax revenues and companies into town,” said Economic Development Officer Dwight Bassett in a prepared statement. He went on to mention that the proximity to mixed-use Caraway Village and easy access to transit made the site attractive to company leaders considering Chapel Hill.
The Light Industrial-Conditional Zoning District, enacted in 2017, allows expedited review of projects in order to both support the entrepreneurial community and help to increase Chapel Hill’s commercial tax base. This allowed the creation of the area referred to as the enterprise zone, which has benefited from a quicker approval process by the town.
Bold Development Group has been working closely with Carolina Donor Services to move forward with the project. “The enterprise zone is a very forward-thinking concept by Chapel Hill,” said Chris Ehrenfeld of Bold Development. “This innovative zoning district allowed us to attract this highly regarded organization to Chapel Hill.”
“We are excited about our move to Chapel Hill,” said Danielle Niedfeldt, president and CEO of Carolina Donor Services. “Our new office with enable us to better honor the gifts of life from our donors, increase our meeting spaces and provide additional surgical suites to ultimately save and heal more lives.”
A zoning compliance application for the project has been submitted to the town. Upon approval and closing on the property, construction will begin. The nonprofit expects to open the headquarters in the spring of 2021.