WILMINGTON — Unprecedented growth continues to gain approval from the City of Wilmington’s City Council and Mayor Bill Saffo. This week, Council approved another massive development along Military Cutoff Road.
Centerpoint, a 24-acre development planned for the corner of Eastwood Road and Military Cutoff Road, was given unanimous approval to rezone the property for the mixed-use project.
This makes it just one of several planned mixed-use developments located on Military Cutoff Road between Eastwood Road and Gordon Road. Those projects now include Mayfaire Town Center, Renaissance North, Arboretum Village, The Forum, The Avenue, and CenterPoint; all of these projects are within an approximately 2-mile stretch of Military Cutoff Road – a major road that is already at full capacity.
But traffic concerns on Military Cutoff Road have not stopped City Council from approving new developments.
The intersection of Military Cutoff Road and Eastwood Drive is also the site of a planned North Carolina Department of Transportation project that will aim to alleviate traffic at the congested intersection by building a flyover overpass, but construction is not expected to commence until 2022.
Another NCDOT project, the Drysdale Drive extension, will run from Eastwood Road to Military Cutoff Road and is planned to begin in April of 2020.
Senior Planner for the City of Wilmington Brian Chambers presented City Council with the project during Tuesday night’s City Council meeting.
“The proposal includes 300 apartments, a 200-room hotel, 75,000-square-feet of medical office, 31,600-square-feet of general office space, approximately 128,000-square-feet of retail space and approximately 58,000-square-feet of restaurant space,” Chambers said.
David Swain, developer of Centerpoint, spoke during the presentation, joined by engineer Richard Collier and architect Bruce Bowman — who are both members of Wilmington’s planning committee who also worked on the CenterPoint project.
Swain called CenterPoint the most exciting project he has ever been involved with.
In the past, many have expressed concerns over the increase in traffic onto the overcrowded roads around CenterPoint. Swain pointed out several traffic improvements would be made, including a traffic signal on Drysdale Drive, direct connections to both Calypso Drive and Eastwood Road, and the extension of Calypso Drive.
City Council also voted to approve a special use permit to allow construction of two structures up to 75-feet in height. This increased height will allow Swain to fit denser development onto a smaller footprint; CenterPoint’s vertical construction will allow roughly 1 million-square-feet of development on roughly 25-acres, something that would not be possible without being able to build up, Swain said.
“This project we are doing tonight, there’s probably not 50 of them across the country … I will tell you we are very concerned about the public and the people that surround us and were not going to harm anybody – if we do harm someone they’re going to let us know and we’re going to modify it so we do not harm them,” Swain said.
After more than an hour presentation, and hearing from residents of the area, City Council voted unanimously to approve the rezoning request. The special use permit to construct upward also passed.
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