Downtown and Business Development Manager


Innovative and Growing NC City Seeks Downtown and Business Development Manager

With one of the largest downtown footprints in North Carolina, the City of Wilson, NC, is primed for significant downtown and business development. The department director has overseen the downtown and business development responsibilities, but growth dictates the creation of a new role to focus on strategic alignment with goals. The new position of Downtown and Business Development Manager (Manager) will focus on creatively and strategically leading the community through a season of growth and opportunity.

As a result of restructuring within the city’s Planning and Community Revitalization department, this new position will enhance the groundwork laid by the department’s Planning and Community Revitalization Director and work collaboratively to execute strategic initiatives for Historic Downtown Wilson and key commercial corridors and historic business districts. This position supervises the downtown development and business development divisions in support of the department. The Manager will also serve as the downtown manager of a NC Main Street community and help support the Wilson Downtown Development Corporation and Wilson Downtown Properties nonprofit organizations, which are critical partners in the downtown revitalization effort.

About the Organization, Department, and Position:

The City of Wilson, which operates under a Council/Manager form of Government, is led by a Mayor and seven council members. The City Manager is the city’s chief executive officer and manages the day-to-day operations of 15 departments and over 700 employees.

The city’s recently completed Wilson Growing Together: The 2043 Comprehensive Plan guides future development and growth within Wilson and addresses many key issues, including growing intentionally, connecting people and places, fostering vibrant neighborhoods, promoting economic prosperity, conserving green places, creating active and thriving communities, plan implementation, and community engagement. The city’s FY 24-25 proposed budget is $271.8MM. Property taxes are budgeted at a rate of $.052 per $100 valuation, and the downtown Municipal Service Districts 1 and 2 are budgeted at a rate of $0.018 per $100 valuation.

Most notably, the Wilson City Council approved an estimated $280 million development project to be completed in Historic Downtown Wilson in Spring 2026. This project will feature a new downtown sports entertainment complex, which will house the Carolina Mudcats Minor League baseball team, to be renamed before their relocation to Wilson. A 100-room hotel, multi-family housing, and commercial development are also part of the plans for this significant development adjacent to the city’s most renowned, award-winning, and unique destination, the Vollis Simpson Whirligig Park. More information about the City can be found here.

Reporting to the Planning and Community Revitalization Director, the Downtown and Business Development Manager will oversee a budget of approximately $1MM and lead five employees across two divisions—downtown development and business development. Wilson’s downtown program is nationally accredited by Main Street America and is an active member of the North Carolina Main Street Program and the North Carolina Downtown Development Association. Historic Downtown Wilson has grown tremendously, seeing both public and private investment increase by leaps and bounds annually. With over 50 buildings in the process of redevelopment or future construction, along with the creation of a new minor league baseball stadium, adjacent hotel, and mixed-used project, Wilson’s downtown area is poised for success. With plans to follow a similar model, the business development division is working to revitalize surrounding commercial corridors and historic business districts, including redeveloping the old Parkwood Mall site into a mixed-use center. This position’s malleable work is for the flexible professional who can quickly adapt and change plans based on internal and external factors. This position will also work collaboratively with the Planning and Community Development Manager and the long-range planning and community development divisions, as projects and programs often are multidisciplinary.

Collaboration is vital among all departments and divisions in the city. This Manager collaborates with the planning and community development divisions on workforce and affordable housing issues and neighborhood revitalization strategies in areas where business districts and established neighborhoods meet. The Manager will work closely with the Wilson Downtown Wilson Development Corporation (WDDC), a non-profit organization partnering to revitalize Historic Downtown Wilson using the Main Street 4-Point Approach. In addition, the Manager will work closely with WDDC’s sister organization, Wilson Downtown Properties (WDP), a nonprofit organization partnering to revitalize Historic Downtown Wilson through property rehabilitation.

The WDDC and the WDP are each governed by a Board of Directors comprised of downtown business owners, property owners, non-profit leaders, downtown residents, citizens, and city and county representatives, all of which share a passion for revitalizing the heart of the city. The Manager will also work closely with the Vollis Simpson Whirligig Park and Museum nonprofit organization and its Board members – community leaders and city representatives dedicated to its mission. This organization owns and maintains the 30 large-scale, kinetic whirligig sculptures in the park and oversees programs and activities, including educational opportunities, events, festivals, the Farmers & Artisan Market, and the park’s museum and gift shop.


A bachelor’s degree in urban planning, economic development, business and/or public administration, planning, community development, or a similar degree level of study and/or appropriate certification is required. A master’s degree is preferred. A minimum of five years of experience in the economic, downtown, commercial corridor, and business district development, or related fields, with a proven track record of successful plan, project, and program creation, implementation, and management, and three years of supervisory experience are required. An equivalent combination of education and experience that provides the required knowledge, skills, and abilities to perform the duties will be considered. Residency within the city limits is preferred for this position but not required.

Salary and Benefits: The salary range for this position is $81,652.26 – $143,242.93. Starting salary will depend on experience and qualifications. The city’s comprehensive benefits package can be viewed here.

To apply, please visit and click on the Downtown and Business Development Manager – City of Wilson, NC title.

  • All applications must be submitted online via the Developmental Associates application portal (link above) – NOT the city’s employment application portal or any other external website.
  • Resumes and cover letters must be uploaded with the application.
  • Applicants should apply by July 26, 2024.
  • Successful semi-finalists will be invited to participate in virtual interviews and skill evaluation interviews on August 26-27, 2024. Candidates are encouraged to reserve these dates for virtual meetings should they be invited to participate.
  • Interviews with the leadership team will follow quickly at a subsequent time in person.
  • Direct inquiries to

The City of Wilson, NC, is an Equal Opportunity Employer. Developmental Associates, LLC manages the recruitment and selection process for this position. To learn more about our selection process, visit, select “Client Openings,” and scroll down to “Important Information for Applicants.”

Candice Walsh

Written by