DURHAM, NC--(Marketwired - February 12, 2014) - The Triangle Business Journal (TBJ) has named Self-Help's renovation of the historic East Durham Graded School building as 2013's Top Sustainable Real Estate Project. The renovation, now home to Maureen Joy Charter School, preserves the structure's historic charm while incorporating innovative energy efficiency features to reduce operating costs and environmental footprint.
The facility is the oldest existing school building in Durham, dating to 1909 and was vacant for over 15 years. Self-Help, a leading national community development financial institution headquartered in Durham, invested over $10 million in the renovated property for the school to lease. View a short video about the project here (password is "joy". Photos are also available on request).
"Self-Help thanks TBJ for this recognition and we hope this development will be a model for others," said Kim Cameron, Self-Help's Director of Real Estate Development. "Often viewed as expensive amenities, well-designed sustainable features actually can have tremendous positive impact in economically disadvantaged areas."
Self-Help's real estate work focuses on improving vacant and underutilized properties in and around downtowns, and facilitating housing revitalization in urban neighborhoods. To date, Self-Help has invested more than $123 million in real estate development, producing or renovating165 affordable homes and 25 commercial buildings in towns and cities across the state.
The Durham school's renovation maintained over 75% of the existing walls, floors and roofing and recycled 83% of the remaining construction and demolition waste. Energy use is estimated at 30% more efficient than standard projects. The school's urban location and three acre campus preserves land, and storm water runoff is managed through integrated tree plantings. Raised garden beds, and a vine-planted green wall emphasize the connection with local urban ecosystems.
"Self-Help is always looking for new partners," said Dan Levine, Assistant Director of Real Estate at Self-Help. "We love to have conversations about the viability of possible new projects, whether a school building, an old downtown office building or residential development."
Founded in 1980, Self-Help (www.self-help.org) is a nonprofit credit union, community development lender, and real estate developer. Over the past 28 years, Self-Help's combined affiliates have provided over $6 billion in financing to nearly 75,000 families, individuals and businesses underserved by traditional financial institutions. It strengthens communities by financing hundreds of homebuyers each year, as well as nonprofits, child care centers, community health facilities, public charter schools, and residential and commercial real estate projects. Self-Help Credit Union also serves over 50,000 families through 17 retail branches, offering a full range of financial products and services in addition to financing personal, vehicle, mortgage and business loans.