Castle Street’s Urban Oasis offers modern living, eclectic collectible shop

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In its two months of operation, Urban Oasis has leased seven of its 11 apartment units, as well as its first-floor commercial space. Photos by Hilary Snow.
In its two months of operation, Urban Oasis has leased seven of its 11 apartment units, as well as its first-floor commercial space. Photos by Hilary Snow.

A new apartment complex has opened in Castle Street’s burgeoning arts and antiques district.

And, in less than two months, it has filled up fast.

Matt Scharf, manager with property owner Ritz Development 6 LLC, said of the 11 total units in Urban Oasis, seven have been rented and two more are reserved. Construction began on the mixed-use building in March of last year and Scharf said Ritz received its certificate of occupancy in November.

The complex’s first floor commercial space was also leased last month, housing Wilmington native Kenyatta Sullivan’s eclectic collectible shop, Whatever. The store has acquired, among dozens of comic books and unique vintage items, props from locally filmed television shows, “Under the Dome” and “Sleepy Hollow.” “Under the Dome,” which wrapped up filming last summer, was not renewed by CBS, and the Fox hit “Sleepy Hollow” announced in January 2015 that it would relocate to Georgia.

Whatever also contains a number of items from the now cult classic teen drama, “One Tree Hill.”
Above the store, each of the “ultra-modern,” energy-efficient apartments offer two bedrooms and two bathrooms, Scharf noted. The units are approximately 900 square feet and rent for $975 a month.

Urban Oasis also has a security gate and private entry and Ritz is in the process of constructing a parking lot behind the building, Scharf added.

“There is a high need for that over there,” Scharf said of Castle Street. “There hasn’t been anything over there like this, and certainly not new apartments, in over 50 years.”

But, considering how well the nearby gated South Front community has done–there is a waiting list for apartments there–Scharf believes Castle Street was a good location for Urban Oasis.

The downstairs collectible shop, Whatever, sells a variety of comic books and music and movie memorabilia.
The downstairs collectible shop, Whatever, sells a variety of comic books and music and movie memorabilia.

“South Front has done very well. There is new construction going up around there…That certainly was an indicator,” he noted.

And the boom the district has seen in the last year alone certainly isn’t a bad sign, either.

Last summer, HGTV personality Meg Caswell opened her Fifth and Castle Design Shop, adding to a then already growing list of Castle Street additions, including produce and art store AlPhi’s Chic Boutique, funky Elsewhere Salon and Second Skin Vintage.

Those new developments are anchored in the success of longtime coffee shop and eatery, Jester’s Java, along with a string of antique stores and vinyl purveyor Gravity Records.

Hilary Snow is a reporter at Port City Daily. Reach her at hilary.s@portcitydaily.com.