SOUTHEAST N.C. — It’s the end of a decade and the region has seen plenty of changes in the 2010s, but now it’s time to look forward to what is coming in the new year (and new decade).
Wilmington and the Cape Fear region as a whole is seeing exponential growth so it should be no surprise that more development is planned for the area.
As Wilmington enters a new decade, take a look at some of the projects in the works around the growing city.
One of the city’s first major public-private development will be completed in 2020 (providing everything goes according to the latest plan). The project has been in the works for years and has seen its share of setbacks, but it appears to be nearing completion.
The mixed-use development will consist of:
- 25,633 square feet of commercial space including retail shops and restaurant and bar space, primarily on the ground floor
- Approximately 171 residential units (for sale and/or lease)
- 403 parking spaces, a minimum of 174 of which will be reserved for public use. The city’s cost to construct the new parking facility is estimated at $19.7 million, not to exceed $20.7 million
- Residential units will “wrap” the parking deck on the Water Street side, masking view of the parking from Water Street
- The facility will not exceed current zoning height restrictions of 132 feet
The property formerly housed the 2nd Street Parking Deck until its demolition, the ‘public’ portion of the project — that is, taxpayer-funded — will be for the new parking garage. The rest of the project is part of the private development.
Read more about the River Place development from the past few years here:
- River Place, a multi-million dollar, taxpayer-funded luxury condo development won’t have affordable options
- City Council voted for River Place land grab, now three lawsuits could cost Wilmington
- One year in, Wilmington’s Water Street project sees cost jump $7.6 million
- Wilmington will pay double initial cost in River Place eminent domain settlements
- Wilmington betting on ‘value engineering’ to reimburse $892,850 to be moved from parking fund to River Place
North Waterfront Park
Another one of the city’s big projects is the North Waterfront Park project that finally broke ground at the end of 2019. The project was supposed to be well underway by now, but budget setbacks and weather delayed the project.
The park was part of the city’s 2016 Parks Bond — a $40 million bond for various projects — the largest of which was the North Waterfront Park.
But even with $20 million earmarked for the park, it turns out taxpayers are shelling out approximately 50% more than what they voted for when the bond was approved. City Council recently approved an increase in budget for the park bringing total costs to about $30 million.
The park will include numerous amenities, including:
- Greenspace & lawns
- A large concert venue & festival space
- Shade trees
- Splash Pad
- Large plaza
- Natural areas
But even with the increase in funding the park will still not provide all of the amenities promised in order to stay within budget (they can be added later).
Read more about the North Waterfront Park here:
- Paying more, getting less: Live Nation amphitheater and park costs up $10 million, features reduced
- Wilmington’s North Waterfront Park and Live Nation venue opening pushed back to 2021
- North Waterfront Park design firm tells Wilmington leaders costs need to be cut
- Final North Waterfront Park plans revealed. Live Nation amphitheater on its way to Wilmington
New Hanover County, perhaps, following the lead of the City of Wilmington also has plans to enter into a public-private development in downtown. But after facing criticism from both county commissioners and residents, the project was tabled — but it is still on the backburner.
The project would have relocated the Cape Fear Museum and rebuilt the downtown library along with retail and residential space. According to the county, the project is still being worked on by the Zimmer Development team, but no new plans have been shared with the county yet.
- Retail, residential, and office space: Project Grace moving forward, public input sessions planned
- County Commissioners put brakes on Project Grace to ‘explore alternative options’
- Opponents, county to hold meetings on project that could relocate Cape Fear Museum
Military Cutoff Road
With all of the growth in the region, traffic conditions have also suffered. That is why the NCDOT is working on extending one of the main corridors in Wilmington — Military Cutoff Road. The NCDOT has faced its own budget shortfalls in the past, but luckily, the Military Cutoff Road Extension project has already broken ground.
The project, when completed, will connect the road with I-140 giving drivers access to a faster-moving roadway to get up and around Market Street. The project is slated for completion by 2022.
- Military Cutoff Extension project on track for 2022 opening, new routes planned for end of this year
- Construction on $95 million Military Cutoff Road extension starts in January
Castle Street project
The property located at 1110 Castle Street has sat empty for years. It was the former home to a Wave Transit bus depot that has since been vacated. The City of Wilmington had actually promised the property to the Wilmington Southside CDC for development, but after failing to come up with any viable plans for the land, the city changed its mind.
When it was first discussed, the city saw interest from several different organizations including Tru Colors — but when the time for requests for proposals came — only one group submitted plans. A development team that includes Cape Fear Habitat for Humanity asked the city to donate the land to it so it could create a mixed-use development that includes affordable housing, but city staff was hesitant to recommend this plan.
Eventually, the city agreed to give the development team six more months to come up with a plan for funding and designs for the land before making a decision.
- City Council gives proposed Castle Street mixed-use development six more months to plan
- Cape Fear Habitat for Humanity: Wilmington’s cost for Castle Street project limited to land donation, not $1 million
- Wilmington city staff urge rejection of affordable housing mixed-use development on Castle Street
- After years without a proposal from community group, Wilmington considers selling Castle Street facility