cataloging the revitalization of historic YE Smith

project partners

Maureen Joy Charter School, founded in 1997, is a thriving K-8th grade school located on West Cornwallis Road near Highway 15-501 in Durham, a few miles west of downtown.  As one of the state’s oldest public charter schools, Maureen Joy is tuition-free and open to the public, with admission determined by a random lottery.  The curriculum emphasizes strong academics and “more time on task,” with an eight hour school day.  School leadership emphasizes structure and safety, with required uniforms, high behavioral standards, and small class sizes that allow individualized attention.  Given its success and the resulting strong demand, the school seeks to expand from its current size of approximately 325 children.

Maureen Joy’s students are 85% low-income and 100% students of color, and they consistently  earn strong scores on end of grade assessments.  The school has earned a strong reputation for building students’ character, and for dedicated teachers, Board members and administrators.  See to view a short video.

Self-Help Ventures Fund will act as developer, owner, and asset manager for the Maureen Joy Charter School project.  SHVF is an affiliate of Self-Help, a leading national community development financial institution.  Over its 28 year history, Self-Help has provided $5.6 billion in financing to more than 64,000 families, businesses, and organizations nationwide.   Our real estate programs aim to stimulate economic development in targeted communities while building a long-term asset base that contributes to Self-Help’s financial sustainability.  Self-Help maintains a staff of six fulltime commercial real estate professionals responsible for development, construction, property management, finance, leasing and marketing, supported by Self-Help legal and accounting departments (

Preservation North Carolina (“PNC”), founded in 1939, protects and promotes buildings, sites and landscapes important to the diverse heritage of North Carolina. Through its statewide Endangered Properties Program, PNC has saved more than 600 historic properties from demolition or neglect, finding buyers who have put them into a multitude of new uses, including private homes and businesses, community centers, affordable housing, schools, and more. A current focus of the Endangered Properties Program is neighborhood revitalization in East Durham. Project RED (Revitalize East Durham) is bringing together PNC, Preservation Durham (“PD”), neighborhood residents and community advocates  to help build a diverse, vibrant and affordable East Durham by preserving the neighborhood’s wealth of early 20th-century homes. PNC and PD have committed to renovating and selling eight to twelve new houses. The houses will be affordable for service workers, public employees, and first-time homeowners (

Belk Architecture has for 28 years led the way in recycling the region’s architectural heritage.  Eddie Belk, FAIA and his team have completed award-winning renovations of sixty-two National Historic Register buildings.  Altogether, Belk projects have converted over four million square feet of historic architecture into new housing, offices, restaurants, entertainment venues, art galleries, and schools across the Southeast.  Landmark projects in Durham include Brightleaf Square, West Village, American Tobacco, and Golden Belt, with each representing a major contribution to downtown Durham’s revitalization.  Along with CT Wilson Construction, Belk received the 2009 AIA North Carolina Committee on the Environment Award for the Golden Belt mill renovation (

CT Wilson Construction has been a general contractor in North Carolina since 1952, specializing in complex projects that include educational buildings, government facilities, and historic renovations.  Past projects include many of the landmark commercial and cultural buildings in Durham and many other communities across North Carolina.  CT Wilson’s collaborations with Self-Help Ventures Fund and Belk Architecture have included Golden Belt,Temple Building, and 123 W. Main Street renovations in Durham, and the Market Square building in Fayetteville.  In 2009 CT Wilson won the Carolinas Association of General Contractors Pinnacle Award as Best General Contractor (

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