Planning staff has prepared two reports aimed at assisting the development community and the public to more easily determine which properties in the community are best suited for development. The first is the three-part Development Opportunity Study series which identifies commercial, industrial or multifamily properties suitable for development. The second is the Winston-Salem's Residential Opportunity Areas report which provides a comprehensive summary of existing Residential Opportunity Areas as defined in adopted area plans within the City of Winston-Salem.

Development Opportunity Studies

In January 2014, the City-County Planning and Development Services Department conducted a countywide mapping analysis of properties in Forsyth County that are recommended and zoned for different types of development. A series of maps identifying land that could potentially be developed has been compiled by its suitability for multifamily, commercial or industrial development. Additionally, the properties highlighted:

  • are determined to be vacant or have a building-to-land value low enough that might make it suitable for redevelopment
  • meet varying parcel size qualification that might make them attractive for development
    • Commercial - 0.25-acre minimum lot size
    • Industrial - 5-acre minimum lot size
    • Multifamily Residential - 2-acre minimum lot size

In 2015, these maps were updated using the same qualifying factors with the addition of sites that need to be rezoned but are recommended in area plans for the proposed land use.

Initial data was derived using tax data provided by the Forsyth County Tax Department, Legacy’s proposed land use data, 2014 orthophotography, and current Forsyth County zoning data. Additional site validation and recommendations were made by the City-County Planning and Development Services staff, the Forsyth County Tax Administration staff, and staff representatives from surrounding municipal areas.


Commercial Development
Opportunities Study
[pdf/84mb/117p]

Industrial Development
Opportunities Study
[pdf/58.5mb/85p]

Multifamily Development
Opportunities Study
[pdf/82mb/115p]

This is a limited study that does not take into account other variables such as topography, slope, access, utilities, soils, ownership, availability, etc. The sites identified in this study also may not be owned by the City of Winston Salem or Forsyth County, nor does the City or County know whether the owners of these properties have the properties available for sale. This study is strictly an assessment of primarily vacant or underdeveloped parcels that have proposed land uses consistent with the adopted comprehensive plan, Legacy, and applicable consistent zoning, while meeting various size thresholds.

Contact Information

Contact , Project Planner, (336) 747-7060 with your comments, questions, or suggestions for further product enhancements.

Revised: 3/4/2016


Residential Opportunity Areas

The Winston-Salem's Residential Opportunity Areas report [pdf/33mb/34p] provides an overview of Residential Opportunity Areas which are defined as areas within the central city area of Winston-Salem that are typically larger than 2.5 acres that are appropriate for residential infill and rehabilitation/redevelopment for residential use, or a combination of infill and rehabilitation/redevelopment. Residential Opportunity Areas increase market efficiencies and identify areas of potential economic benefits to residential and commercial developers. They also aid in infill development, potential redevelopment and sprawl management; and, serve as tools in guiding good development practices.

There are 44 Residential Opportunity Area sites scattered across the six central city neighborhood planning areas (North Central, East/Northeast, Southeast, South Central, Southwest, and Northwest) comprising a collective total of 430 acres of land. This report contains all Residential Opportunity Area recommendations, mapping, and data broken down by area plan, as well as a summary map and table compiling all of the sites.

Contact Information

Contact (336) 747-7046 with comments or questions.

Updated: 2/23/2014

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