County buildings win preservation, new development awards is your source for free news and information in the Wilmington area.

320 Chestnut St. Photo by Hannah Leyva.
320 Chestnut St. Photo by Hannah Leyva.

Two buildings funded by county taxpayers were honored at the 2016 Historic Wilmington Foundation’s Preservation Awards ceremony, which was held on May 19.

The building at 320 Chestnut St., which is home to several county government offices, was recognized as an example of a successful rehabilitation and preservation of an old building from the 1950s.

“The county’s 320 Chestnut building is an amazing example of the commissioners’ vision to restore a historic building from the inside out,” Commissioner Rob Zapple said. “It had leaking pipes and drafty windows, and now it is a modern, energy-efficient building that blends seamlessly into downtown.”

The building’s most unique feature is its green roof, the first of its kind in the county. A garden of plant beds cover the majority of the roof, which help keep the building insulated and energy costs lower. The outdoor space on the rooftop also offers views of downtown, the Cape Fear Memorial Bridge and the Cape Fear River.

A little farther north lies one of the newest buildings in downtown Wilmington. The Cape Fear Community College Humanities and Fine Arts Wilson Center opened late last year on North Third Street and has already hosted several concerts, dance showcases and other performances.

The 1,560-seat venue, which was built with funds from a 2008 bond referendum, won Wilmington Downtown, Inc.’s Development Award. The annual honor is given to an extraordinary project that was finished within the last year, and the performing arts center won for being compatible with and enriching the area.

“The Wilson Center is a welcome addition to the cultural and architectural feel of downtown Wilmington,” Zapple said of the state-of-the-art 159,000 square foot building.

Board of Commissioners Vice Chairman Jonathan Barfield Jr. was also on hand during the ceremony and accepted the awards with Zapple.

“My fellow commissioners and I are honored that these two buildings – both new and restored – are being recognized for their significance in our historic community,” Barfield said.