Demolition on the Water Street parking deck in downtown Wilmington, which will make way for the mixed-use development River Place, will begin in May, developers announced Thursday.
Lucien Ellison, managing partner of River Place development firm East West Partners of Chapel Hill, said in a news release that the demolition process will be "well underway" after the Wells Fargo Championship, which is May 1-7.
Demolition will be completed with an excavator removing concrete in blocks or slabs and will take several weeks to complete, the release said.
While the specific date for the first removal of concrete is hard to predict, the release said, officials with East West Partners and general contractor Barnhill Construction said the necessary permits, public notices, safety precautions, disposal agreements, public access easements and power supply will be in place for the demolition process to be started on or around May 8. The announcement was made during a Downtown Economic Series luncheon hosted Thursday afternoon by Wilmington Downtown Inc.
“Our revised projections actually took us to mid- to late-April as the earliest date we might get underway with the deck’s demolition, but that put us right into the path of Azalea Festival, the Wells Fargo Championship and UNCW graduation, all events that will deliver tourist traffic to downtown,” Ellison said in the release.
In order to avoid the introduction of heavy equipment, traffic impact and anticipated noise, East West Partners elected to delay the start until the conclusion of the predictable tourist traffic, according to the release.
"Prior to the deck’s demolition, East West Partners and Barnhill Construction will have completed the redirection of traffic to and from the Cotton Exchange parking lot on Water Street, begun installation of a new construction ramp along side the Murchison Building, coordinated with the Coast Guard for access to their moorings, and completed installation of the new power supply to support the full construction process," the release said.
City officials see the defunct Water Street parking deck’s demolition as a major milestone in the redevelopment of the city’s waterfront.
When complete, River Place will include 32,000 square feet of commercial space, 171 condominiums and apartments, 57,000 square feet of public plazas and easements and parking for 409 cars, with 174 of those parking spaces set aside for public use.
River Place is a $78 million project, with the city contributing more than $19 million for the new parking facility and street improvements.