W. Brian Hiatt has served as Concord's City Manager since 1998. He came to Concord from Hickory where he served as Assistant City Manager for over 10 years. Brian holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in History and Government Service from Appalachian State University where he was a summa cum laude graduate, and a Master of Public Administration from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He has been recognized as a Credentialed City Manager by ICMA.
Active in the community, Brian is a Past President of the Academic Learning Center and continues to serve on that Board. He is on the Board of Directors for the Cabarrus Economic Development Corporation and the Water and Sewer Authority of Cabarrus County. Brian has served as the Chair of the Cabarrus County United Way Board three times since 1999, most recently in 2015, and was Chair of the United Way Campaign in Cabarrus County in 2002. He is a Past-President of the Concord Rotary Club, where he was named Rotarian of the Year in 2012, and the Lake Hickory Rotary Club. He is also a former board member of Hospice of Cabarrus County. He is a Past President of the North Carolina City and County Management Association, having served as President in 2012-13, and has served on several committees supporting the International City and County Management Association. Brian was a member of the Board of Directors of the NC League of Municipalities from 2004 through 2008. Brian is married to Julie, and they have two grown children, Andrew and Erin.
by Brian Hiatt
Momentum continues with Update to Dowtown Master Plan
Early this year the ribbon was cut for Lofts 29, the transformation of the historic Maxwell Furniture Building into market rate apartments supported by Historic Preservation Tax Credits. The momentum created by this event continues with the announcement of more apartments coming to downtown Concord and the expansion of the vision for the downtown of the future.
The next project will be the long awaited rehabilitation of the historic Hotel Concord and the adjacent properties. This rehabilitation will retain the event/ballroom venue presently operating in the Historic Hotel Concord and reopen freshly improved in 2018. The same private developer that completed the Lofts 29 project has obtained all the properties necessary to create approximately thirty-eight (38) market rate apartments on the residential floors above the Hotel and the former bank lobbies, as well as in the former Concord Telephone Company Exchange Building located along Cabarrus Avenue.
This developer has also agreed to complement Downtown Concord’s overall vision by converting the bank lobby into a market/restaurant space. Plans include developing or selling, with a commitment to develop, the Cabarrus Theater building located just north of the Hotel on Union Street.
Finally, the developer will reconfigure the parking lot behind the Hotel to maximize the number of spaces. The new configuration is expected to result in seventy-one (71) total parking spaces that will be ample to support the 38 new apartments and day-time business uses of the two proposed commercial venues. The new configuration will also assist with continued parking convenience for Lofts 29 residents.
At the same time, at City Council’s direction, City staff has been working with consultants and downtown stakeholders to update the Downtown Master Plan. This project started with a parking analysis and moved quickly into a market analysis phase, conducted by the Development Finance Initiative (DFI) at the UNC School of Government. The final phase was taking the information from the parking analysis and the market analysis and combining that with input from stakeholders to develop a plan for City Council’s consideration in August.
This plan contains many recommendations for phased implementation in future years. For example, the plan identifies City properties behind the City Hall and Concord Police Headquarters as the location of a new plaza to provide open space for gatherings within downtown. It also anticipates additional County and public parking needs by providing County/City partnership concepts to develop parking deck on County land between Barbrick and Corban Avenues. The plan also identifies potential areas ripe for new retail, residential, and office development.
Concurrent with the Master Plan process, DFI evaluated redevelopment options for the old Municipal Building and City Hall Annex properties that were vacated in January. Potential uses of these properties have been developed to be compatible with master plan recommendations. As a result, DFI is developing Requests for Proposals (RFPs) for the two locations that will be released to the private sector to determine interest in developing mixed-use retail, office, and/or residential projects on these sites.
Everyone in Concord should be proud to have a downtown that serves not only as the heart of our community, but also an example to others that it is possible to use the past to build for the future. The momentum currently in Downtown Concord, combined with the vision created by the concepts in the Downtown Master Plan, speaks well for what is yet to come.