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County Commissioners Pursue Government Center Redevelopment

By Johanna Cano, posted Aug 13, 2019
New Hanover County officials plan to issue a request for qualifications (RFQ) later this month for a new government center that could include commercial, business and residential uses, according to a news release.

This comes after New Hanover County commissioners at their meeting Monday night approved a resolution to pursue a public-private partnership for the center's redevelopment.

The redevelopment project involves a new government center at the current site at 230 Government Center Drive off South College Road.

The plan for a new center is due to repair needs the current building would require, and because the building was originally a shopping center, the space is not conducive for a government center, county officials said at a roundtable last week.

The current government center would require about $20 million in repairs over the next 20 years, officials said.

The site is at a federal Opportunity Zone, which is a community investment tool to encourage long-term investments by providing tax incentives for qualified investors, stated the release.

“The county has done a good job of retrofitting the space for our use, but there are inefficiencies and unused space that exists,” County Manager Chris Coudriet said in the release. “From a business perspective, it’s important to explore the possibility of a new building that is designed specifically for our needs, with the opportunity to add new development to the site. This would bring tax revenue to the county, and help us create an administrative building designed around service to our customers.”

The county has not yet reviewed how much the redevelopment would cost because it would depend on what the developer presents to the county, including what the developer would invest, said Tim Burgess, deputy New Hanover county manager, at the commissioner’s meeting.

The model for the public-private partnership could include the county selling parts or the whole property and buying it back from the developer or leasing it, Burgess said.

Other properties near the center, such as Ten Pin Alley, not owned by the county, could be part of the redevelopment, Burgess said.

“From the county’s perspective and the developer, as they are looking at the site, [other properties] may be of interest to them and other buildings that are in the vicinity of this property, depending on what type of development they want to do,” Burgess said. “If they require more area than what the county owns or from a financial standpoint if it would make sense to them … that is something we would have discussions about.”

The county is working on another public-private redevelopment, Project Grace, a mixed-use development downtown that would house Cape Fear Museum and the New Hanover County Library, which has slowed down due to financial concerns.

The RFQ, expected to be posted between Aug. 19-30, can be found in the county’s bids page.
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