Sunday, July 21, 2024

County accepts city land donation for Northside grocery store

The city donated to the county roughly 2.5 acres of land on Fanning Street for construction of a grocery store in the Northside community. (Port City Daily/Shea Carver)

NEW HANOVER COUNTY — The county officially accepted a land donation from the city Monday to build a new grocery store in the Northside community.

New Hanover County commissioners unanimously approved the consent agenda, in which the land donation resolution was included.

The city offered 2.5 acres at 905 North 10th St. for the county and Northside Food Co-op partnership to construct its facility. The area is within a USDA-designated food dessert and would provide access to affordable, healthy options for residents.

Wilmington City Council approved the donation at its July 19 meeting and had to subdivide the property to offer up a small tract. County staff found the location met its needs in terms of location, size and accessibility.

The county will pay $300,000 to design and $2.2 million to build the 6,000-square-foot building. The Northside Food Co-op will then operate and manage the store, which will offer traditional grocery items. The county will not be involved with day-to-day operations but act as a “landlord” for the property.

As it could take a few years for the business to be profitable, the county has confirmed it would allocate sufficient funds to the cause annually. It will determine that amount once a business plan is more fleshed out.

The goal currently is to break ground on the grocery store sometime next year and be operational by 2024.

The neighborhood has lacked a full-service grocery store within a 1-mile walking distance for more than three decades. The Northside Food Co-op has been working toward this effort since 2017 and formally incorporated as a nonprofit in 2020.

To create community buy-in for the store, the co-op is selling memberships, which includes partial ownership of the operation. Members can also join committees or the board of directors, take advantage of investment opportunities and discounts and assist with the co-op’s initiatives.

As of June, the co-op had more than 500 members and has a mission to secure at least 1,000 before option its door.

“If people feel monetarily bought into the mission and vision of the co-op, and on top of that have emotional and work stake in the game by participating in the farmers market or committees, there’s a greater chance of behavioral change to be more invested in shopping at the store,” Northside Co-op project manager Cierra Washington told PCD in May.

Catch up on past PCD coverage of the Northside grocery store:

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