About DDI

For 25 years, Downtown Durham, Inc. has been the economic development engine for downtown Durham, NC. With more than $1.7 billion in investment since 2000, downtown Durham is home to more than 60 retail stores, 100 restaurants and bars, and 1,700 residential units – all in an area just under one square mile. As the entity responsible for the business improvement district, DDI provides resources to keep downtown Durham clean and safe, and to attract visitors and residents to downtown businesses, venues and events. 


Nicole Thompson, President/CEO

Nicole began her career in economic development while working for the Institute of Minority Economic Development in downtown Durham in the early 90s. Since then, she has worked in economic and community development on the state government, local government and nonprofit/community levels in North Carolina, Virginia and Colorado. She has experience in leading economic development efforts and growth in both rural and urban areas. Prior to coming to Durham, Nicole spent four years in Colorado, where she was the Executive Director of the Leadville-Lake County Economic Development Corporation. While in this position, she worked tirelessly to advocate for responsible and strategic economic growth and development in Lake County. Nicole graduated from the University of Richmond with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science and Urban Studies and received a Master’s degree in Urban and Regional Planning from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. 

Download a hi-res headshot of Nicole Thompson.


Media Contact

Gina Rozier
Director of Marketing
(919) 682-2800 ext. 22
gina at 


Media Releases

  • 2-14-2018
    Downtown Durham, Inc. Presents Local Band Beauty World at Five Points Plaza
    DDI will host a free musical performance by the local band Beauty World on Thursday, Feb. 22 from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. at Five Points Plaza. This is the first event of its kind since DDI installed the new lighting canopy and standing-height tables at the Plaza.
  • 12-21-2017
    Five Points Plaza Lighting Project
    In collaboration with the City of Durham’s Office of Economic and Workforce Development, Downtown Durham, Inc. (DDI) completed a new lighting installation at Five Points Plaza at the intersection of Main and East Chapel Hill Street on December 19, 2017.
  • 1-24-2017
    Nicole J. Thompson Selected as New CEO of Downtown Durham, Inc.
    Following a national search, Downtown Durham, Inc. has selected Nicole J. Thompson as its CEO. Thompson will take the helm of the 24-year-old downtown advocacy organization on February 13, 2017.