A city of Wilmington "Future Development Opportunity" sign has been placed on city-owned property in northern downtown Wilmington near Harnett and North Front streets. (Photo by Cece Nunn)
Officials are preparing future marketing efforts for property the city owns on North Front and North Third streets in downtown Wilmington, potentially paving the way for a new mixed-use development.
The properties at the city's northern gateway, near the Isabel Holmes Bridge, include 908 and 922 N. Front St. and 901 and 1020 N. Third St. In March, the city bought 1020 N. Third St., previously the home of RSC Equipment Rental, for more than $1.8 million from East Coast Development II LLC. RSC Equipment Rental closed the North Front Street location in 2012 after merging with United Rentals.
The city will likely demolish the old equipment rental building at 1020 N. Third St., said Erris Dunston, assistant to the city manager for economic development.
Metal buildings that used to house Cape Fear Community College classes on the other properties in the northern gateway group have already been torn down. Officials have been preparing the gateway properties to be marketed, most likely as a cohesive site for a potential mixed-use development.
Dunston said as part of that effort, the city’s urban designers are expected to work on conceptual plans that would-be buyers could use as a guideline for what is allowed and what could be the best fit for the area.
“We’re trying to put together a package that would be available for developers to look at,” Dunston said.
Although signs that say "Future Development Opportunity" and include Dunston's phone number have been placed at the site, city officials don’t have a specific date by which they need to complete new marketing materials and launch a larger campaign, she said.
“We want to get it done as soon as possible, but we haven’t set a hard deadline,” Dunston said. “I would probably say in the next few months, we’d be definitely looking at getting the property marketed.”