Monday, November 28, 2022

Fate of former bus depot decided: City to demolish structures, sell Castle Street property

The Wave Transit bus depot at 1110 Castle St. will now be demolished before going on the market after multiple failed attempts from the city to find the right public-private partnership for redevelopment. (Port City Daily/Shea Carver)

WILMINGTON — A city-owned property that council and staff has worked for years to transform is officially being demolished. 1110 Castle St., a former Wave Transit bus depot, has sat vacant since 2015, allowing the two structures on site to deteriorate beyond reasonable repair.

Tuesday, the city released a request for proposals for the demolition work, with contractor submissions due July 21 at 3 p.m. City Manager Tony Caudle told council in April there should be no cost to the city in the short-term to maintain the property once it’s cleared.

READ MORE: Multiple years, failed attempts: City abandons bus yard project in favor of sale

No city council vote was taken for the demolition, as spokesperson Jennifer Dandron said one was not required. The city will vote to authorize the sale of the property through a sealed bid process, though. Proceeds will be used toward affordable housing projects.

The city worked for years to enter into a public-private agreement for redevelopment of the site. Following months of research, economic development director Aubrey Parsley told council at an April agenda briefing meeting, it was not feasible to make it work.

Between legal constraints, condition of the structures and environmental issues, bringing plans and goals to fruition continually failed. City council came to a consensus in April the property needs to be sold. The latest appraisal valued the land at $390,000, if sold as is.

Remediation of environmental issues — lead, asbestos and mold abatement and soil gas vapor mitigation — alone would cost the city at least $360,000.

Council member Charlie Rivenbark said in April the property should have been sold 10 years ago. Fellow council members were on board to move forward with releasing the land.

The winning bid would be contracted to raze two single-story 8,650 square-foot bow roof structures, constructed in 1948, a fuel canopy and fuel tank. Concrete slab foundations are going to be left in place as an added benefit to a future buyer.

Due to the age of the buildings, the Historic Wilmington Foundation proposed preserving them in 2018, but the structures have fallen into disrepair since. The brick buildings are located on 1.5 acres of land bordered by 11th, Castle and 12th streets, as well as residential homes to the south.

Photos of the interior and exterior of the buildings located within the city’s request-for-proposal packet show broken tiles, moldy ceilings, torn up carpet, dilapidated doors, crumbled plaster walls and overall deterioration of the buildings.

Additional work includes removing all demolition material, overgrowth, trash and debris, and grading, leveling and raking out of stones and rocks. The contractor is also responsible for asbestos abatement.

According to the RFP, all firms interested in submitting a proposal must attend a July 6 meeting on site to fully understand the scope of the project and work required. 

According to the city, on May 11, Atlantic Shores Environmental Service performed an asbestos survey of the property. More than 80 samples were collected and tested by a lab. All samples confirmed asbestos in large quantities were present. The asbestos must be remediated prior to the demolition of the buildings, to not spread its contamination.

An initial environmental site assessment was performed by AMEC Environment out of Durham in 2014 when developer Clark Hipp first proposed converting 1110 Castle St. into an arts and culture building and mixed-use facilities. The city had plans to transfer ownership of the site to nonprofit Southside Community Development. Results from the 2014 study showed environmental concerns with petroleum-impacted soil and contaminated groundwater.

The site, originally developed in 1915, was used as residential dwellings until 1949. The city purchased the property in 1974 and it was occupied by various transit companies from 1969 to 2015. Four underground storage tanks used for diesel and oil were closed up in 1991 but found to be leaking. Ongoing environmental studies of the impact continued over the years.

In 2020, a phase two environmental site assessment was performed by Wood Environment and Infrastructure Solutions, Inc. It revealed vapor intrusion mitigation was necessary prior to further development of the property.

City council will review the bids July 21 to 25 and award a contract on Aug. 16. Work is required to begin 10 days after the firm receives a notification to proceed.

Courtesy/City of Wilmington
Courtesy/City of Wilmington
Courtesy/City of Wilmington
Courtesy/City of Wilmington
Courtesy/City of Wilmington

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Shea Carver
Shea Carver
Shea Carver is the editor in chief at Port City Daily. A UNCW alumna, Shea worked in the print media business in Wilmington for 22 years before joining the PCD team in October 2020. She specializes in arts coverage — music, film, literature, theatre — the dining scene, and can often be tapped on where to go, what to do and who to see in Wilmington. When she isn’t hanging with her pup, Shadow Wolf, tending the garden or spinning vinyl, she’s attending concerts and live theater.

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