More office users and retail tenants could be coming to downtown Wilmington as developers and commercial real estate brokers bring more space to the thriving market.
One example: The Wallace Work Lofts on the second floor of the Wallace Building at the corner of Third and Princess streets. Space is also available on the first floor, some of it formerly occupied by a bail bondsman, and MoMentum Companies has been converting the top floor spaces to one- and two-room suites that have a mid-century modern feel.
Terry Espy, president of MoMentum Companies, and John Sharkey leased the upstairs to prepare it for the kind of office tenants that have been attracted to downtown Wilmington over the years.
"What we're hearing downtown all the time is there's so little to offer in small spaces where people can get started and grow their business," Espy said, during a downtown commercial property showcase tour Thursday hosted by Wilmington Downtown Inc. "We don't have really something with window space and appealing for people to incubate in so we thought, 'Well, this will be the place.'"
A lot of the units are still under construction in the Wallace Building, an historic livery where the upstairs served as the haylofts, Espy said. Wilmington tech company CMIT Solutions is the first tenant operating in The Wallace Work Lofts.
Also part of the tour, developer James Goodnight and broker Brian Wallace of York Properties on Thursday began officially marketing Goodnight's historic properties at 226 Princess St., 222 Princess St. and the upstairs floors of 1 S. Front St.
Built around 1930, the 1,300-square-foot building at 226 Princess St. is undergoing a renovation and historic preservation that includes a new facade, plumbing, mechanical and electric work. The same kind of work is going on at the building next door, 222 Princess St., which was built around 1905 and has about 1,210 square feet of space and a conditioned basement.
Wallace said the hope with the Princess Street buildings, which could be retail or office, is to continue to increase the daytime activity on Princess street, similar to what men's clothing and accessory store Bloke Apparel & Supply, 216 Princess St., did when it moved downtown from its previous location near Wrightsville Beach.
Built in 1900, 1 S. Front St. was previously the home of S.B. Solomon Brothers Dry Goods and recent renovation and preservation efforts include demolition of all non-original buildout, new wood windows, new electrical plumbing, as well as new exterior paint, according to marketing materials.
Other properties included in the showcase Thursday, as Realtors and brokers walked to and toured each space, were one of Wilmington's oldest structures, the brick office building at 102 Orange St. built around 1738, and two spaces that could either be office or retail inside Chandler's Wharf at 225 S. Water St. Chandler's Wharf is already home to a growing tech office community, and other tenants include makerspace Elite Innovations, Cape Fear Rum Cake, accessory and clothing store Camillions and NeMa Lounge & Eatery.