Friday, February 3, 2023

Goodbye Wilmington Sears, hello 750-apartments?

Plans have yet to be submitted, but a traffic study for the revamp of Independence Mall will look at the impact of a hotel, 750-apartments, and a grocery store

Conceptual plans for the Collection at Independence, the rebranded and overhauled Independence Mall. (Port City Daily photo \ COURTESY IRC INC.)
Conceptual plans for the Collection at Independence, the rebranded and overhauled Independence Mall. (Port City Daily photo COURTESY IRC INC.)

WILMINGTON — Plans for the overhaul of Independence Mall have been hushed since the proposed Collection at Independence was announced last month. But now, a city email about traffic gives more clarity to what the developer has planned for the property.

According to an email from the Wilmington Urban Area Metropolitan Planning Organization to Davenport Transportation Consulting, the redevelopment will follow the trend of other developments in Wilmington. Apartments, hotel rooms, medical office, restaurant, retail, and a grocery store.

The Traffic Impact Analysis is expected to look at the effect 750-apartments and a 125-room hotel would have in the area, according to the WMPO email. The same analysis would take into account a 75,000-square-feet of medical office space, 80,268-square-feet restaurant space, 134,838-square-feet retail, and 25,400-square-feet supermarket.

According to a press release sent last month, “The Collection at Independence is an over 1 million square foot shopping center centrally located on Oleander Drive in Wilmington’s mid-town district and only three miles from the 230-plus block historic downtown district. The property boasts a retail lineup consisting of over 150 retailers including Belk, Dillard’s, JC Penney, Victoria’s Secret, Hibbett Sports, American Eagle, Foot Locker, Bath & Body Works, Forever 21 and Chick-fil-a.”

Traffic concerns surrounding the redevelopment will require the TIA to analyze 10 different intersections around the mall area, according to the approved scope for the study.

According to documents, the new development is expected to see a total 56,696 un-adjusted trips if the redevelopment proceeds as planned. That means, if other traffic patterns do not change.

The redevelopment appears to be similar in style to current mixed-use developments like Mayfaire. According to the press release, the development will focus on “incorporating green space to create an authentic village-like lifestyle just minutes from the Atlantic Ocean.”

The project is expected to take some time to develop, but according to the release, retail stores already located in Independence Mall will remain open during the development process.

Representatives from the development did not respond to requests for information, including questions about the brand of hotel that is planned.

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