Wednesday, June 12, 2024

New Hanover County looking for public/private partnership to redevelop its administrative offices

WILMINGTON — New Hanover County’s administrative building is not what most people would think of when talking about government offices. Located between a bowling alley and a real estate school — and across the parking lot from a strip club — sits a renovated strip mall where employees run the day-to-day activities of the county.

But county leaders are hoping to soon change their aesthetics and possibly redevelop the current offices and in keeping with a growing trend in the area, the county is looking to the private sector to construct a public-private development.

“The Government Center building, which is 136,654 square feet, has more than 30,000 square feet of unused space and will require significant maintenance and repair investments over the next 30 years,” according to county spokeswoman Jessica Loeper.

The offices were originally built in 1989 as a shopping center, in 2002 the county purchased the building and renovated it to serve as the county offices.

“A building designed for the county’s needs today and in the future would be energy efficient, maximize facility usage and space, be resilient and able to withstand storms, incorporate greater public safety systems, and would save the county money in the long run,” County Manager Chris Coudriet said.

Earlier this week the Board of County Commissioners approved a motion to move forward with a request for qualifications process, inviting developers to submit plans for the land.

The qualifications will be due in the fall and if a developer is selected, staff could begin negotiations as early as November or December.

“The county has done a good job of retrofitting the space for our use, but there are inefficiencies and unused space that exists,” said County Manager Chris Coudriet. “From a business perspective, it’s important to explore the possibility of a new building that is designed specifically for our needs, with the opportunity to add new development to the site. This would bring tax revenue to the county, and help us create an administrative building designed around service to our customers.”


 

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