Wednesday, November 29, 2023

Another day, another developer: a million-square-foot development proposed at Eastwood and Military Cutoff

Artist rendering of CenterPoint (Port City Daily photo/COURTESY SWAIN&ASSOCIATES)
Artist rendering of CenterPoint (Port City Daily photo/COURTESY SWAIN&ASSOCIATES)

WILMINGTON — Over the past few weeks the City of Wilmington’s residents have seen several announcements for proposed developments along Military Cutoff Road – it seems that this trend has no intention of slowing down.

On Wednesday morning, public relations for Swain & Associates, a development company based out of Wilmington, announced its plans to build a $250 million, 1 million-square-foot, mixed-use development with street frontage on both Military Cutoff and Eastwood roads.

The company submitted a rezoning request to the city Tuesday to rezone the property to mixed use from residential. Last week, City Council approved the rezoning of a 9-acre development called Renaissance North.

“Rezoning this property to UMX (CD) enables us to develop the land more efficiently than its current R-15 status allows,” David Swain, owner of Swain & Associates, said. “It also enables us to create the type of mixed-use project called for in the city’s Comprehensive Plan. We look forward to working with the city on this rezoning request and to introducing our plans for CenterPoint to the community.”

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The property is a 23-acre piece of land on which the developer plans to build retail, hospitality, office and residential units. The property is adjacent to the Eastport neighborhood on its east and Cambridge Bay Retirement Community on its west.

“This tract of land is the best piece of undeveloped property in New Hanover County,” Swain said. “We named it CenterPoint because we believe it will be a new center of activity in our region and will exemplify the type of mixed-use development that the City of Wilmington is working to attract to our community – ones that feature the right mix of compatible uses, are compact, pedestrian and bike friendly, accessible to transit, and well connected to adjacent neighborhoods and roadways.”

The property is currently owned by the Wetherill family and has been in the family for decades, two of five siblings live in homes on the property.

“We’ve had this property in our family for quite some time and have had numerous offers over the years,” said Richard Wetherill, a lifelong resident of Wrightsville Beach and Wilmington. “But we’ve been waiting for just the right project and just the right developer. When David shared his vision with us, it became an easy decision.”

Traffic concerns have been a topic of debate among residents, as well as developers in the city, as shown earlier this month when the city’s Planning Department released a staff report opposing the addition of another development on Military Cutoff Road called The Avenue.

According to Swain & Associates, traffic problems could be alleviated with the creation of a new four-lane Drysdale Drive extension connecting Military Cutoff Road and Eastwood Road.

If the company manages to get all the necessary approvals, construction on CenterPoint would begin in 2019.

The development would be home to a, “(f)lagship seven-story full service hotel with 200 beds, 300 one-two bedroom apartments above retail space, 50-60 retail shops and restaurants, 75,000 square-foot medical services building, 31,600 square-feet of first class office space, multi-level structured parking for 1,450 cars, and surface parking for 275 cars.”

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