Rory Dowling is a development advisor for DFI, providing real estate consulting services for local governments across North Carolina. Dowling has committed his real estate career to working on projects that have a positive and transformative impact on the surrounding community, often focusing on iconic properties or sites with deep historical context and connection to the surrounding community. During his time at DFI, Dowling has managed and advised on projects representing over $250M of potential development including the adaptive reuse of two prominent historic structures into hotels, master developing 20-acres of riverfront property for a mixed-use town center, and the adaptive reuse of an historic hotel into student housing above retail.
Outside of this work with DFI, Dowling is principal and founder of 1st & Main Development, a real estate development and consulting firm focused on enriching communities through downtown revitalization. 1st & Main has extensive experience developing large-scale, mixed-use projects in urban settings. Most of the firm’s projects have been public-private partnerships involving creative financing methods, including historic tax credits, new market tax credits, tax-incremental financing, brownfields tax incentives, among others. Dowling has structured public–private partnerships through his work as a lead partner in the $110M Hay Street Master Development in downtown Fayetteville, NC – a project that includes the adaptive reuse of the historic Prince Charles Hotel, a 120-room upscale hotel, and 90,000 sq.ft office tower that will surround a new minor league baseball stadium. Dowling is also leading a public-private partnership with Fairfield County, SC to transform the historic Mt. Zion Institute School into a county complex. Overall, 1st & Main is currently involved as owner and partner in over $90M of mixed-use private development with another potential $75M of development in the pipeline.
Dowling received a dual master’s degree from UNC-Chapel Hill in business and city & regional planning and holds a bachelor’s degree from Washington & Lee University.