Tour offers inside look at available downtown dwellings

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Urban chic dwellings, like this one at City Block Apartments, are among the offerings on this year's tour. Courtesy photos.
Urban chic dwellings, like this one at City Block Apartments, are among the offerings on this year’s tour. Courtesy photos.

If you’re in the market for a downtown loft or would just love to get a look inside some historic homes, the Downtown Lifestyle Tour is your chance to get a sneak peek.

The fifth annual tour, which runs from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, spans the riverfront all the way up to 16th Street and offers glimpses into a variety of residences – from quaint cottages to urban chic apartments.

Ed Wolverton, president and CEO of Wilmington Downtown Inc. (WDI), which sponsors the event, said this year’s tour is more than twice the size of those in years past. In 2015, WDI showcased 10 properties; this time around, there are 21 on the guide map.

New to this year's tour, most of the 21 properties, like this one at 20 N. 15th St., are on the market.
New to this year’s tour, most of the 21 properties, like this one at 20 N. 15th St., are on the market.

Rather than just show off occupied dwellings as it has in the past, Wolverton said WDI opted to expand the tour into a “downtown-wide open house,” of sorts, with lots of properties on the market or available for rent.

“We decided this time to make a deliberate decision to have more folks involved in this,” he noted. “So, we reached out to the Wilmington Regional Association of Realtors.”

The organization then passed along an invitation to area brokers who wanted to get involved.

“Across the country, there is a growing interest in people wanting to live in downtown urban settings. This tour offers a great way to see a variety of properties and how that lifestyle may work for them,” Wolverton said.

When downtown-enthusiasts think about relocating, he added, they may not know the diversity available to them. More than just 100-year-old single-family homes await potential renters and buyers, Wolverton said. The tour highlights both those historic properties, like the two-story, four-bedroom 1903 house at 404 S. Fifth Ave. and those newer additions, such as the sprawling Bannerman Station condos built in 2006.

The walking tour is self-guided and at your own pace. Participants are encouraged to make stops at downtown shops and eateries in between home visits, and properties may be viewed in any order.

Tickets are $10 (two for $15) and can be purchased online or the day of the event at the information booth at Bijou Park, 225 N. Front St.

Click here for more details and pictures of the tour destinations.

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