Skip to content

Get Connected & Stay Informed

Access networks, knowledge, and a team of professionals dedicated to helping you thrive.

Lower Your Business Expenses

Save money on small business health and dental services, credit card processing fees, workers’ comp coverage and more.

Increase Your Community Impact

Successful businesses create successful communities and we are passionate about both. Get informed, get engaged, and make your voice heard.

It's a Big Dang Deal

It's a Big Dang Deal

DATE: 11/22/2019
SUBJECT: It's a Big Dang Deal

Dear Chamber members, 

Chapel Hill had big news this week to celebrate and appreciate:
  • First, Chapel Hill had a huge jobs announcement: Governor Cooper came to Chapel Hill this week to announce that Well, a dynamic healthcare start-up, will open an operations center and corporate headquarters on Franklin Street with a $3 million investment and plans for 400 new high paying jobs. Well’s consumer engagement platform helps individuals navigate and improve their health. Well has begun its operations in the newly renovated 419 West Franklin Street and will be expanding activities into the county owned building that currently hosts the Chapel Hill/Orange County Visitors Bureau. Read the releases to learn more: Chapel Hill and NC Dept. of Commerce.
  • Second, Chapel Hill made strong progress on a possible W. Franklin Street Parking Deck: Chapel Hill Town Council unanimously authorized the Town Manager to begin financial planning on a West End Parking Deck and to hold a public hearing in early 2020 for a Parking Payment-in-Lieu program for new development – both designed to address the estimated future parking demand of 1,000 spaces. Review the staff presentation and watch the council discussion.
This news in Chapel Hill is on top of several strong economic development announcements made in Orange County over the last few months:
  • In Sept, Medline Industries - a manufacturer and distributor of medical supplies – announced $65 million investment to build new one-million square-foot distribution center and create 250 new jobs in Orange County.
  • In July, ABB - a global leader in electrification products, robotics, and industrial automation – announced $39.9 million investment to expand Orange County’s Mebane facility, upgrade equipment, and create more than 400 new jobs.
?These successes are a result of years of effort to prepare and market Chapel Hill and Orange County as a globally recognized community with the talent, infrastructure and resources needed to attract and support substantial private investment. 

A special thank you is owed to our economic development professionals Dwight Bassett (Chapel Hill) and Steve Brantley (Orange County), our Managers Maurice Jones (Chapel Hill) and Bonnie Hammersley (Orange County), and of course our elected officials Chapel Hill Mayor Pam Hemminger and the Town Council and Orange County Board Chair Penny Rich and the Commissioners for their creative partnership and incentives that have made these projects possible.

These announcements, new office buildings, huge office renovations, UNC Health expansions, and new housing prove Chapel Hill and Orange County are open for business. Consider sending a note thanking our elected officials for their support for job growth and economic development: Chapel Hill Town Council and the Board of County Commissioners

Please scroll down for the full stories.

With thanksgiving,


Chapel Hill Announced for Well Operations & Corporate Center
(Retrieved from

CHAPEL HILL, NC – Governor Roy Cooper announced today (Tuesday, Nov. 19) that Well will invest $3 million to establish a new operations and corporate center in Chapel Hill that will create about 400 high-paying jobs over five years. The center will expand on the company’s recently established location at 419 W. Franklin St. in Downtown Chapel Hill.

Well provides a consumer engagement platform that helps individuals navigate and improve their health. Well’s concierge health team and digital experiences provide on-demand support to members, while proactively surfacing personalized health insights. The operations hub will serve as the primary center for Well’s clinical and health experts, with software developers, data analysts, and corporate personnel.

The North Carolina Department of Commerce led the state’s support for the company during its site evaluation process. Chapel Hill and Orange County worked with the state to successfully secure the project. Well also considered sites in Boston and Durham for its center. Economic benefits will be shared across North Carolina with an expected $8.4 million increase in state revenues over a 12-year incentive with Well.

“Building on our deep local connections, Chapel Hill provides an ideal environment for our new operations and corporate center,” said David Werry, Well’s President & COO. “Access to high quality talent, major academic centers, and unique community resources were all key drivers in our decision to locate in Chapel Hill.”

“We are thrilled that this thriving Chapel Hill start-up company has chosen to establish here,” said Mayor Pam Hemminger.  “Strengthening Chapel Hill’s economy by creating new jobs and increasing our commercial tax base are critical to our long-term economic sustainability. We are excited to welcome Well and their employees to our downtown.”

“It is especially nice when a company with strong ties to Orange County returns to grow their business here,” said Penny Rich, chair of the Orange County Board of Commissioners. “We are thrilled to welcome Well to Orange County. We don’t have to tell you what a special place this is, and we look forward to growing with you no matter what color blue you don.”

The Town of Chapel Hill has offered a performance-based incentives package that includes $450,000 tied to job creation and $450,000 in parking credits over a period of eight years.  The incentive program is contingent on Council approval and would be awarded based on the company meeting specific targets for new jobs.  On-site (property/building) improvements are expected to contribute new property taxes which will help defray the cost of the incentives program.

Orange County will hold a public hearing to discuss and approve its incentives at a later date, including the use of county-owned property on Franklin Street.
“Increasing the commercial tax base and bringing more well-paying jobs into Chapel Hill will benefit everyone in the county,” said County Manager Bonnie Hammersley. “The Board of Commissioners has made it a priority to attract new industry and retain existing companies to diversify our property tax base. This announcement will help us continue to move that needle forward.”

“This is the beginning of a new wave of exciting opportunities for Downtown Chapel Hill,” said Chapel Hill Town Manager Maurice Jones “We are thrilled to be able to attract respected and expanding companies like Well to the heart of our community.”

Chapel Hill Commercial Development Strategy – Chapel Hill is focused on becoming a world class center for research and development. The Commercial Development Strategy supports opportunities to put Chapel Hill’s people to work, and create economic prosperity for all, now and in the future.
About Well
  • An early-stage healthcare technology and services company, incorporated January 2019
  • Provides technology-enabled solutions to consumers via employers
  • Platform enables consumers to navigate their health and wellness needs
  • Consumers access and engage with clinical and health experts through chat and telephone
  • Chapel Hill operations center will serve as primary center for clinical and health experts
  • Primary locations: 419 W. Franklin St., Chapel Hill, with additional sites to be finalized
  • Website:

Chapel Hill Downtown Partnership Update on Parking 
(Retrieved from email sent on 11/21/19) 

W. Franklin Street St. Parking Update

The town council took up the issue of a W. Franklin St. Parking Deck again and unanimously voted to authorize the Town Manager to proceed with financial planning for the deck. The council also authorized the manager to call a public hearing for a Land Use Management Ordinance (LUMO) text amendment and an optional Parking Payment-in-Lieu system. The Partnership spoke on behalf of the deck.

We all recognize wanting downtown to be more walkable and multimodal, and building structured parking is a critical first step to free up land for more productive uses like housing and office space. The town estimates this deck could add spaces to downtown and free up 5 acres of land currently used for surface parking. 

Please take a moment to thank the Town Council Members for voting to move the W. Franklin St. Parking Deck forward.

If you would like to see the council documents from last night they are here.

Please use this link to create a Draft email to Mayor and Council Members thanking them for voting for the Parking Deck. Please customize the email if you like.

Parking Counts and Payment-in-Lieu

Dwight Bassett and Meg McGurk with the town are both working hard to improve our parking system, and I am grateful for their help. In addition to the deck, they are finishing parking counts this month on the W. Franklin St. surface parking lots. This is in response to requests to make parking free after 5 pm or 6 pm. If parking usage is low during these hours, we will advocate for making it free earlier to attract people downtown.

The proposed Payment-in-Lieu system is an idea that would allow property owners looking to redevelop that couldn't build all of their parking on-site, to pay into a town system that would build parking nearby. We are keeping an eye on this and will make sure property owners and developers give feedback at the right time.

Thanks for reading,

Matt Gladdek
Executive Director

Powered By GrowthZone