Where We Live: Inside a luxury, second-floor apartment on Downtown Wilmington’s Front Street

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WILMINGTON — Have you ever noticed that balcony above “I Love N.Y. Pizza” and wondered what’s inside? Visitors to the Front Street area in downtown Wilmington may have noticed there’s a second floor to the building, but may not know there’s a luxury apartment inside.

This week’s “Where We Live” takes you to 26 N. Front St. in downtown Wilmington, and inside a 2,062-sq. ft. downtown flat located on the second floor of the building. 

The apartment has been home to several tenants in the film industry, including actor Billy Burke, who rented the apartment for a year while starring in NBC’s TV series “Revolution.”

Although they never met him, Burke left the current owners many mementos, including a signed poster, a leather jacket worn in the show, a scene script with notes, and a bottle of whiskey, according to Broker/Realtor Chris Baynes, with Coldwell Banker Sea Coast Realty. It’s also been home to three set decorators.

The second floor of the 1930s-era building has undergone extensive renovations. The second floor had been two condos when the owners purchased their unit in 2006. Then, when the owners of the adjacent condo decided to sell in 2009, the current owners purchased it to create one large, second-story apartment. By combining the condos, Baynes said the owners were able to not only have large living areas, but to avoid the “shotgun” style found in many older downtown condos.

An extensive renovation took place in the Front Street apartment in 2009. (Photos courtesy of the property owners.)
An extensive renovation took place in the Front Street apartment in 2009. (Photos courtesy of the property owners.)

Working with Mark Loudermilk of ProVision Architects, the owners designed a new living space that includes four bedrooms and two-and-a-half bathrooms. The goal was to create a comfortable and contemporary space in downtown Wilmington, while keeping the feel of the historic area.

The inside was gutted, revealing exposed brick walls. Libby Beccarino of Plantation Builders was the general contractor for the renovation project and Wilmington’s Historic Preservation Commission kept a close eye on all exterior renovations.

The commission granted the owners replacement windows and two balconies, but denied the ability to place doors leading to the Front Street balcony. The original placement of the balcony was heightened, but Baynes said the owners came up with a clever way to provide access to the balcony by creating interior steps attached to the exposed brick walls that lead to the outdoors. At the time, the Front Street balcony was the only one approved for that area.

26 Front Street 10
The living room is open to the kitchen and dining room. The far left window in the picture, leads to the balcony. (Photo by Christina Haley.)

The window that leads to the balcony, and several others that line the front of the apartment, provide natural light into the living room, kitchen and dining room area. The home’s floor plan is open in the main living areas, which have a front-row view of all the action along Front Street. The living room has built-in shelves and a gas fireplace.

The apartment’s four bedrooms are situated near the back of the building, away from the main street. They are accessed through a long hallway. Two of the four rooms have exposed brick walls, including the master, which has an attached bathroom and double walk-in closets. One bedroom also has another balcony that overlooks the rear of the building.

“You can fit a lot of people in this place,” Baynes said. “If you wanted to come in for whatever festival – Fourth of July, the Azalea Festival or Riverfest – it a perfect location for that.”

A photo of the balcony during renovations. (Photo courtesy of the property owner.)
A photo of the balcony during renovations. (Photo courtesy of the property owner.)

 

The downtown area has been interesting and rewarding for the current owners, Baynes said. The owners have enjoyed front row views of the fireworks displays, a bird’s-eye view of the vendors setting up for the various festivals, and have an easy walk to riverfront bars and restaurants.  It’s also an easy spot from which to attend the Wilmington Downtown Sundown concert series. 

“You really can’t find anything this big downtown, so the value is really a big point here,” Baynes said. “There isn’t a river view, but you certainly are right here, close to the river, and you have the street view and the interesting balcony that is unique to the property.”

Baynes said the property is large enough to fit a family, or it could be used as an investment property.

“I think something like this would be an awesome short-term rental,” Baynes said. “I think it’s a fantastic opportunity for someone who lived in Raleigh, or lived in the Washington D.C. area … if they wanted to by something like this and do short term rentals when they’re not here, it’s perfect.”

This building includes apartments 3&4 at 26 N. Front Street. (Photo by Christina Haley.)
This building includes apartments 3 and 4 at 26 N. Front Street. (Photo by Christina Haley.)

The City of Wilmington offers long-term parking at the parking decks for downtown residents. Parking for this apartment is about a half-block away. The home is within the New Hanover County School district, and is zoned for Snipes Elementary School, D.C. Virgo Middle School and New Hanover High School. 

This downtown apartment is on the market at $475,000.

Watch a video tour of this apartment:

For more information about this downtown property or to take a tour, contact Broker/Realtor Chris Baynes, of Coldwell Banker Sea Coast Realty, by calling 910-470-4408 or email him at Chris@ChrisBaynes.com. Additional information about this apartment can be found on the Chris Baynes & Associates website.

Where We Live is a weekly feature looking at the homes and unique places to stay in the Cape Fear Region. Do you have a home, on or off the market, that our readers may be interested in seeing? Let us know at PCD@localvoicemedia.com.