Wednesday, April 24, 2024

Developers eye prospects of Cape Fear River’s western banks

Chemours and CFPUA are monitoring levels of PFAS chemicals downriver form the Chemours plant in Greenville. Pictured is the Cape Fear River near downtown Wilmington. (Port City Daily photo/Mark Darrough)
With development abounding on the Wilmington riverfront, a new proposal aims to establish residences across the water. (Port City Daily/File)

NEW HANOVER COUNTY — A development team hopes to turn two disconnected parcels — both of them on the banks of the Cape Fear River, across from downtown Wilmington but still in the jurisdiction of New Hanover County — into a united planned development. 

There are 8 acres at the southern tip of the peninsula, across the water from the Wilmington Convention Center. It’s been owned by Donald Bordeaux since 1973, when the land was purchased for $42,000, according to property records. It was deeded in 2015 to a Bordeaux-linked limited liability company that describes its business as “[m]aking custom holsters, belts and accessories.” 

The second half of the proposed development is one mile north of the Bordeaux parcel by way of U.S. Highway 421, just north of the Isabella Holmes Bridge. Almont Shipping Company sold the 25.6-acre parcel to Terminal Road Property, LLC in 2005 for $1.5 million, according to property records. 

These two pieces of land, separated by a mile, are zoned for industrial use, just like the vast majority of New Hanover County land west of the Cape Fear River. The marine construction company Atlantic Coast Industrial operates along the river between the two sites. 

The development team — KFJ, LLC — intends to rezone both parcels into a single planned development, which is a type of proposed land use that requires a site plan and onto which county officials can impose conditions. 

Kirkland Pugh, a realtor with Keller Williams Realty, and Frank Pasquale are listed as the managing members of the development team’s limited liability company, which was registered in March by local attorney James Lea. 

There will be a community information meeting on the project, “to explain the proposal and answer questions from the meeting attendees,” hosted at the Keller Williams Realty office on Military Cutoff Road (1001 Military Cutoff).

UPDATE: This meeting will be held Wednesday, Sept. 29, at 6 p.m.

The proposed development would be residential mixed-use, and will likely be scheduled for a planning board hearing in the coming weeks. Pugh said the project stemmed from an acknowledgment that, while the Wilmington riverfront has drawn abundant development in recent years, the western river banks are “in desperate need of cleaning up.” 

“That piece of land along 421 had been neglected and essentially used as an industrial wasteland, and it goes back generations,” Pugh said. 

Numerous other proposals to develop territories across the river have been lobbed in past years to no avail. Land nearby the Battleship U.S.S. North Carolina has previously been targeted for condos, skyscrapers and a residential subdivision.

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