A developer is moving forward with plans for a building in downtown Wilmington that could include multiple specialty retail shops on the first floor and a night club on the second floor.
Developer Gene Merritt and his partner John Sutton hope by this summer to start building a two-story, 10,000-square-foot building on the site of a parking lot at 200 Market St.
The proposed building
was approved by the city's Historic Preservation Commission in March, and recently submitted site plans for the project are expected to be reviewed by Wilmington's Technical Review Committee in May, according to the city's project tracking website.
Merritt said Monday that he and Sutton hope to close on the property and start construction this year and be finished with the new building by 2018. He estimates the project, which is being designed by architect Stan Fowler, will take nine to 10 months to build.
"At this time, we believe we have a likely [nightclub] tenant for the second floor, and we're pretty sure we've got one [retail] tenant for the first floor already committed," Merritt said, adding that such commitments would be contingent upon city approvals and Sutton and Merritt closing on the property, which they have under contract for an undisclosed amount.
The current owner is Wells Real Estate Holdings LLC.
The eight retail spaces on the first floor of the planned building are part of a strategy to offer smaller-than-usual retail spaces to specialty sellers with unique products, Merritt said.
He said he believes the building will enhance downtown Wilmington.
"We're already a strong entertainment zone, but I think it will add a little more capacity to the entertainment scene, and it will add more diversity in terms of specialty shopping," Merritt said. "It will also add employment to the downtown area and a nice new tax base to the city and county."
Correction: This version corrects the name of the architect designing the building planned at 200 Market St.