Cary Hires Downtown Manager

From staff reports.

Cary, NC – Cary Town Manager Ben Shivar has selected George “Ed” Gawf to serve as the community’s first Downtown Manager. Gawf has been working in the field for 40 years and was Shivar’s top pick from a pool of 280 applicants from as far away as Washington, Wisconsin, Texas, Maine, and Florida.

“Ed’s vast public and private sector experience and high-profile successes will be invaluable as he helps lead our efforts to develop a vision for downtown and the strategies to make that vision a reality,” said Town Manager Ben Shivar, who noted that Gawf was integral in energizing downtowns in Boulder, CO, Palo Alto, CA, and Scottsdale, AZ.

Gawf has a long career in city planning. He was Assistant City Manager of Scottsdale, AZ from 2001-2007. Prior to that, he was Director of Planning and Community Environment for the City of Palo Alto, CA. Earlier in his career, he was Deputy Director, City of San Jose and Planning Director for Boulder, CO

Downtown Manager’s Job

As the Town of Cary’s first Downtown Manager, Gawf will serve as the Town’s key contact for those interested in downtown development and encourage downtown development by recruiting businesses and promoting economic opportunities. A resource to developers, businesses, and residents, Gawf will work with potential tenants and brokers to explore downtown real estate options, explain Town policies and procedures, and convey the needs and desires of downtown stakeholders to Town officials. He will also be part of the staff team that assists with planning and prioritizing downtown capital improvements, including identifying and recommending property acquisitions and sales.

“Cary is consistently ranked as one of the best places in the nation, and I’m excited about the opportunity to work with the community to bring more vibrancy to the heart of this great town,” said Gawf.

Gawf’s range of expertise includes city planning, downtown revitalization, downtown master planning, development entitlements, land use regulations, environmental programs, and organizational development. He is a charter member of the American Institute of Certified Planners and has a BA and MA from Oklahoma State University.

Gawf and his wife will relocate to Cary from Scottsdale, AZ, where he is a partner with G and G Consulting, a planning and development firm. His first day on the job with Cary will be March 21, 2011.

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3 replies
  1. Dean
    Dean says:

    Didn’t we already have a plan for downtown? Is this wishful thinking that people are going to buy up abandoned buildings and start building something? Shouldn’t this be covered by whoever we pay to do something about the low occupancy rate of commercial buildings in Cary?

    There is limited space for building in downtown Cary and it is even more limited due to height restrictions. What is this guy going to do and how much is it going to cost us?

  2. Lindsey Chester
    Lindsey Chester says:

    There actually are no height restrictions downtown and the downtown center plan was shelved because it was originally to be funded largely by the town. In these economic times, staff felt it prudent to hold off for private investing. Downtown businesses have been eagerly waiting for this new position to be filled. Downtown has huge upside potential, the first of which is the new Arts Center due to open in May.

  3. Dean
    Dean says:

    “There actually are no height restrictions downtown”

    Really? I did not know that. My family moved to Cary in 1981 and I thought all buildings couldn’t be higher than the tree line.

    I always thought downtown would be helped by some more than 3 story, but less than a skyscraper buildings offering mixed used. Of course, it would be nice to keep a nice style, like what they did with the Fidelity Bank building, that keeps with the 1800s train depot feel.

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