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Wednesday, May 29, 2024

Galleria project moving forward, first phase proposes 7-story hotel, restaurant, upscale multifamily units

Plans for the first phase of the Galleria project include a hotel and mixed-use buildings. (Port City Daily photo / State Street Companies)
Plans for the first phase of the Galleria project include a hotel and mixed-use buildings. (Port City Daily photo / State Street Companies)

WILMINGTON — The long-planned Galleria project on Wrightsville Avenue is moving forward, with initial plans for mixed-use buildings, a parking facility, and a seven-story hotel that, due to its height, will require a Special-Use Permit.

The move indicates that developer Jeff Kentner is confident that a multi-million-dollar plan — between State Street Companies, the City of Wilmington, and the NCDOT — is also moving forward, with the goal of overhauling part of Wrightsville Avenue.

The plans, submitted by State Street Companies, last week to Wilmington’s technical review committee (TRC), cover the first phase of the project, representing just a fraction of the nearly 18.5 acres owned by the development company along Wrightsville Avenue. The plans include:

  • A seven-story hotel
  • Four-story (or possibly five-story) mixed-use facilities, including “upscale multifamily uses”
  • Parking facility with about 400 spaces
  • An internal roadway network
  • Stormwater management
  • Site utilities

According to Kentner, architectural drawings for the first phase are currently being developed. Kentner also noted that the hotel brand — expected to be a luxury hotel — would be awarded once State Street is issued a special-use permit (SUP) to exceed the height limitations of the current zoning; Kentner said he expects the SUP application to be submitted in the first week of October.

State Street intends to develop the property in several phases through 2025, according to the plans (each phase will have to be submitted to Wilmington’s TRC). Kentner said this should allow improvements to Wrightsville Avenue between Military Cutoff and Eastwood roads to be addressed; these improvements, Kentner has previously noted, are necessary for the property to be developed as originally envisioned.

Wrightsville Avenue improvements

The overhaul of Wrightsville Avenue could cost anywhere between $2 million and $10 million. Kentner and Wilmington Mayor Bill Saffo have discussed a multi-party plan that would see funding come from State Street, Wilmington, and NCDOT, with the city taking over the stretch of road from the state — something city council has discussed as a possibility in the past.

Related: Wilmington Mayor and developer weigh in on multi-million dollar ‘complete street’ plan

“Although there is no definitive agreement in place yet, we are working collaboratively with the City and NCDOT to create a plan to implement the proposed improvements to Wrightsville Avenue,” Kentner said.

Kentner said State Street would be willing to fund initial improvements that would be part of a larger overhaul.

“State Street is prepared to make transportation improvements at its expense along the segment of Wrightsville Avenue adjacent to its property. Such improvements will include a roundabout at the intersection of Wrightsville Avenue and Jones Road, sidewalks, and bike lanes. The key is to have an overall plan for the corridor so that our improvements dovetail into the overall network,” Kentner said.

Kentner has pointed out that the improvements he has proposed are in keeping with the city’s comprehensive plan, as well as the 2011 Wrightsville Sound Small Area Plan. 

Following the acceptance in July of the Traffic Impact Analysis for the Galleria project, Wilmington began conducting a cost study of the proposed roadway improvements. This is a necessary step before any potential plan involving public funds could go forward. Ultimately, any decision about city-funded improvements as part of an agreement with State Street would have to go before City Council for a vote.


Send comments and tips to Benjamin Schachtman at ben@localvoicemedia.com, @pcdben on Twitter, and (910) 538-2001.

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