Downtown Business Improvement District

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The Cary Town Council approved the establishment of a business improvement district (BID) in the downtown area as part of its downtown redevelopment plan. The BID goal set-forth in 2012, to help advance the timing of private development in Downtown Cary, has been successful. Given this success, Town Council refined the criteria of the program in order to provide Cary greater precision in determining projects that best align with the Imagine Cary Community Plan (ICCP). On August 20, 2020, Council adopted new qualifying criteria for payment of development fees by Cary, which are summarized below: 

  • The development is located within the BID; 
  • The developer must be the property owner or be able to demonstrate it has a legally enforceable right to acquire and develop the property; and 
  • The development must be the subject of a Development Agreement between the developer and the Town; the Development Agreement must provide for payment of BID Fee Mitigation by the Town; and the Development Agreement must address development of the property in a manner that meets or addresses at least one of the following:
    • Is consistent with and advances the ICCP vision of a vibrant, sustainable, and pedestrian-oriented Downtown; 
    • Has an emphasis on office, denser residential, retail, entertainment and/or civic uses; 
    • Meets to an acceptable degree the Downtown policies contained in the ICCP. 


These criteria will be effective for applications within the Business Improvement District (BID) submitted after August 20, 2020. 

Further information can be found in the Downtown Business Improvement District Mitigation Fee Ordinance Staff Report to Town Council: Staff Report

For the full ordinance and list of criteria please go to Article V. Business Improvement District in the Town of Cary’s Code of Ordinances.  

Map and Included Property Listing

The BID area is focused in the center of downtown and extends out approximately one-quarter mile. View a map of the area and the specific property addresses included.

Purpose of BID

A Municipal Service District (commonly referred to as a Business Improvement District or BID) is authorized by North Carolina General Statutes and is used to define special service areas where projects or activities are provided to a greater extent than throughout the entire jurisdiction. Per state law, BIDs can only be formed at the beginning of a fiscal year.

While BIDs are typically used to generate funds, the Town - at the recommendation of the UNC School of Government - will use the BID designation to encourage development by reimbursing itself for development fees associated with improvement permits that private developers would normally have to pay for a if they satisfy the criteria within the ordinance. The tax rate for property owners in the BID will remain the same as that of the rest of Cary.

Related Links

Council staff report on Consideration of a Downtown Business Improvement District
NC General Assembly Statute on Municipal Service Districts (G.S. Ch. 160A, Art. 23 )
UNC School of Government website


Ted Boyd
Director of Economic Development
Town Manager's Office
(919) 462-3870

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