Wednesday, July 17, 2024

City Council approves infill project at fire-damaged, 100-year-old warehouse along rail line

The former Independent Ice House in Wilmington's North side can be seen in the foreground here, below the iconic white 'One Tree Hill' bridge on North 6th Street. (Port City Daily photo / Courtesy Wilmington Rail Trail)
The former Independent Ice House in Wilmington’s North side can be seen in the foreground here, below the iconic white ‘One Tree Hill’ bridge on North 6th Street. (Port City Daily photo / Courtesy Wilmington Rail Trail)

The square brick building has been vacant for several years due to fire damage but now a developer hopes to keep the building’s historic aesthetics and create “much-needed” housing in the area.

WILMINGTON — Changes are coming to the 100-year-old Independent Ice House property located along Wilmington’s railway and just West of the iconic One Tree Hill Bridge after City Council approved a conditional rezoning of the property.

As vacant parcels around the City of Wilmington continue to disappear, infill projects like the proposed redevelopment of the fire-damaged warehouse are likely to become more common.

The Ice House is located at 614 Peacock Lane and the building itself has sat vacant for several years due to fire damage. It was constructed in the early 1900s and sits along Wilmington’s original rail line; its purpose was to house and distribute ice to the community.

A conceptual rendering of the redevelopment of the Independent Ice House in Wilmington (Port City Daily/Courtesy City of Wilmington)
A conceptual rendering of the redevelopment of the Independent Ice House in Wilmington (Port City Daily/Courtesy City of Wilmington)

In April plans were submitted to the city for the proposed redevelopment and rezoning for the location.

Related: Redevelopment proposed for 100-year-old historic warehouse building in Wilmington’s Northside

City Council agreed to rezone the relatively small parcel of land at just 0.47-acres in size from R-3 to urban mixed-use UMX. The project will bring six, 1,200-square-foot residential units to the building.

Since the building has been standing for the better part of a century, the rezoning was required for any development of the land, lest the city wanted to see the historic building demolished.

According to the application, “The only viable re-development of the property would involve demolition of the existing structure to and sub-division of the then-vacant lot. This would mean the loss of the unique historic and character-defining structure within the neighborhood.”

The application also noted that the project would provide an opportunity for “much needed” housing for those who could now afford single-family residences; the developer also suggested that redeveloping the building would alleviate the presence of “homeless and vandals” that have utilized the abandoned building.

The plan scored overwhelmingly well on the city’s ranking scale that helps city staff decide if requests are in line with the city’s Comprehensive Plan.

On Tuesday, City Council voted unanimously to approve the redevelopment and rezoning request.


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