WILMINGTON — It has been over a decade since Wilmington City Council passed a resolution with the intent of donating a piece of property to the Wilmington Southside Community Development Corporation. But after 11 years without a proposal for the land, City Council is considering new options for the property.
On Monday Morning, Assistant to the City Manager for Economic Development Erris Dunston gave City Council a presentation on the property and the potential future for it.
The land in question is located at 1110 Castle Street and is the former home to a Wave Transit bus yard; after Wave turned the property back over to the city plans to donate the property to the Southside CDC were discussed. The property is 1.5-acres and has been used as a bus facility since the 1970s, Dunston said.
In 2007, City Council passed a resolution signaling its intent to donate the property to the Wilmington Southside CDC – but a resolution of intent is not the same thing as actually donating the property.
“City council at that time passed the resolution of intent to give this facility to the Wilmington Southside CDC for redevelopment … at the time the facility was still occupied … one of the requirements was that the CDC show capacity of the redeveloping the property,” Dunston said.
The CDC was also required to redevelop the property in a timeframe the city deemed satisfactory.
In 2015 WAVE Transit moved out of the building, and the city actually appropriated $25,000 to provide the project with resources –- but plans have never come to fruition so the funds have not been appropriated to the CDC.
“These resources have not been paid out because the requirements to pay them out have not been met. To date, we have not received a proposal from the CDC, and (in) May 2018 we received a letter asking to extend the time for their proposal to come in,” Dunston said. “They told us that we would have something by the end of July but we have not received it yet.”
The City Council was presented with three different options for the property: granting the extension to the CDC, selling the property, or using the property for a public-private development. The city has not yet been approached by anyone else asking to buy the property, but councilmembers agreed there would be no difficulty making the sale.
According to City Manager Sterling Cheatham, the intent of the city in 2007 was to have the property serve in some sort of public capacity through redevelopment. The CDC was the only organization that expressed interest.
“The intent was to redevelop the property into some public purpose … a gathering spot, a meeting facility, a museum, a hotel was mentioned at some point …” Cheatham said.
Several councilmembers agreed that option two, placing the property on the market for sale, was the direction they were leaning.
“I know people are interested in buying this property – the problem with (option) three is that we have to figure out what people want to build there. If we start this process now it will delay it for a while – that is coming to be a good area – I am sure we will have a bidder on it,” Councilman Kevin O’Grady said.
While no action was taken during the agenda briefing, the topic will likely make its way to City Council again.
Port City Daily reached out to the Wilmington Southside CDC for comment but at the time of publication had not heard back from them yet.