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Design Plans For Downtown Transportation Center Revealed

By Christina Haley O'Neal, posted May 19, 2017
The conceptual design for the planned Multi-modal Transportation Center in downtown Wilmington includes renovation of the Neuwirth Building and construction of bus slips. (Photo Courtesy of WAVE Transit)
Conceptual drawings for the long-discussed Wilmington Multi-modal Transportation Center in downtown Wilmington were recently revealed during a stakeholder meeting at the Brooklyn Arts Center on Wednesday.

WAVE Transit and members of the community gathered for public input on the project, which has been in the works since the 1990s. The Wilmington Multi-modal Transportation Center includes a collaborative effort between the City of Wilmington, the Wilmington Urban Area Metropolitan Planning Organization and Wave Transit.

The project is set for construction on 1.5 acres of land between North Third and Fourth streets and between Red Cross and Hanover streets, in the Brooklyn Arts District.

“I think that the conceptual drawings were well-received,” Cape Fear Public Transportation Authority Executive Director Albert Eby said when asked about the recent meeting.

On the conceptual design, public input included landscaping, pedestrian crossings, and security issues, which Eby said will be taken into consideration as the plans are adjusted.

At an estimated cost of about $3 million, the project aims to develop a transportation hub for WAVE Transit services and its free downtown trolley services. A drop-off lane on Campbell Street is also proposed for taxi services, Eby said.

While previous talks regarding the multi-modal project have anticipated rail and other bus services, Eby said those options are not included in the project at this time.

Wave Transit will continue to partner with Greyhound and Amtrak from its Forden Station on Cando Street, a location Eby said is better suited for intercity access to I-40 and U.S. 17. And previous proposals of an inner city rail to the center, he said, would require a "significant investment" to make it work at this time. The city of Wilmington currently owns the parcels north of Campbell Street next to the old CSX railway between Third and Fourth streets, as well as the Thomas Grocery building at the corner of Fourth and Campbell streets.

Funding from the N.C. Department of Transpiration and the Federal Transportation Administration has been allocated for the project. The city of Wilmington has also invested about $1 million in the initial land acquisition.

The Multi-modal Transportation Center will include one WAVE administration office and slips for 11 buses to conduct downtown transfers, Eby said. The new center will replace the existing on-street transfer location at Second and Princes streets.

To make way for the center, the old U-Haul building located off Third Street was demolished last fall.

Crews are currently working on hazardous materials abatement and demolition at the Neuwirth Building (left), a project estimated at $75,000 that includes removing lead paint, asbestos and mold. That portion of the project is expected to be completed in the coming weeks, Eby said.

Next, crews will work toward a $300,000 stabilization phase of the building, which includes adding new roofs and fixing bricks. The work is in preparation for renovation and bringing the Neuwirth Building “back to its former glory,” Eby said.

Eby said he expects to break ground on transit facilities by late summer or early fall. The entire project could be completed as early as this time next year, he said, adding "it's pretty ambitious, but so far, so good."

A date for the next public meeting has not been scheduled, but Eby said he hopes to schedule another in June.

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