Scott Efird, director of planning for Locust, said most of the city’s new home construction is developing slowly and methodically. Consequently, building permits in Locust will likely be less this year than last, but with a significant spike coming in the near future. “I believe we are setting ourselves up for some great years ahead because of the conversations we are having with developers and with the sewer infrastructure improvements we are getting ready to make,” Efird said. “I believe that growth is having a positive impact on the city. The city of Albemarle is also experiencing economic growth with the addition of more retail along the N.C. Highway 24-27 Bypass. Like the county, city officials are developing the Albemarle Corporate Center to expand its industrial base. Its historic downtown district is planning for the arrival of Pfeiffer University’s graduate campus at Five Points. Property owners have already responded with renewed investment. “It’s kind of exciting to see people taking a leap of faith,” West said of the makeovers near downtown.