WILMINGTON — The South Front District could see more than 60 new apartments within the next year and a half.
The Block on Front is a proposed project on a 1.8-acre site that’s been vacant since Hurricane Florence. The future apartments would line South Front, between Meares and Wright streets, not far from the Cape Fear River.
Preliminary plans call for four buildings, all three stories in height and spanning 4,186 square feet. On the first floor, there will be 1,200 square feet of commercial space. Todd Toconis, a partner of the property owner DTSC, LLC, said the apartments are expected to attract the workforce, and the commercial space will likely house offices or, ideally, retail to service the tenants.
Per the designs, each building will comprise five two-bedroom units, three one bedrooms and eight studio apartments.
The land has been vacant since 2018. DTSC, LLC purchased the property for $275,000 in September 2015 from TSALIE INC, which is now dissolved. Toconis said a garage and repair shop existed on the site until it was destroyed by the hurricane. The owners considered constructing mini storage units but scrapped those plans in pursuit of apartments.
“We just see the need for housing in and around the downtown area,” Toconis said.
Wilmington’s population is projected to grow by nearly 60,000 within the next quarter-century.
The site backs multiple residential homes. Each building for The Block will have around 10 to 12 spaces in front, according to construction plans. Plus, there will be bicycle parking and additional vehicular spaces throughout the lot.
Toconis said the project will be built in phases, starting in fall 2022, with the goal to start renting by spring 2023.
The property is zoned urban mixed-use and appears to meet the goals the city has set for the district: It utilizes a vacant and under-used parcel within a developed urban area, encourages pedestrian-oriented transit and promotes a mix of uses “that fosters a sense of community.”
The preliminary construction plans, submitted to the city last week, are being considered by the technical review committee, which collaborates with local developers to ensure their plans are up to code.
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