Print
Real Estate - Commercial

On Military Cutoff, A Major Week For Major Mixed Use Projects

By Cece Nunn, posted Jun 5, 2018
At top, a rendering of the planned mixed-use development The Avenue. Below, a rendering of Center Point.
The first full week of June is speedily becoming an important milestone for a couple of major mixed-use projects planned on Military Cutoff Road in Wilmington.

Concerns about traffic congestion along the bustling corridor have been at the forefront of discussions developers have had in recent months with local officials and residents in the area. Those discussions will likely continue during public hearings scheduled Tuesday and Wednesday on two separate projects.

Developers say improvements coming to the thoroughfare, some by the N.C. Department of Transportation and some paid for by developers themselves, should help to alleviate those concerns. 

Requests that will allow The Avenue, a $200 million Westin hotel-anchored mixed-use project along Military Cutoff Road, to proceed will be considered by the Wilmington City Council at its Tuesday night meeting. On Wednesday, Center Point, a 1 million-square-foot, $250 million mixed-use development on Military Cutoff and Eastwood roads, is on the agenda for the Wilmington Planning Commission meeting.

"It's an exciting time for Wilmington," said David Swain, whose company Swain & Associates is developing Center Point.

He said the Comprehensive Plan adopted by city officials in 2016 has been a major factor leading up to this week for his project and others.

"The fact is that the real estate has gotten so valuable here in Wilmington, the only way you can justify the development is to do just as the city fathers wanted us to do -- put living quarters, work quarters and the play quarters all within the confines of the same development. It eliminates a lot of the traffic flow on our highways, gives them [people who live or work there] all the opportunities they're looking for in life. We find that to be the millennial crowd that is extremely interested in being close to it and the seniors want to be just as close," Swain said Tuesday. "This Urban Mixed Use zoning that they have right now really motivates the developers to move forward in this fashion, and it seems like the developers that are out there are very cognizant of that fact and they're embracing the fact."

Swain & Associates has had eight meetings with residents in the area to address concerns about Center Point. The Avenue developer, Greensboro-based The Carroll Companies, has also conducted numerous community meetings leading up to Tuesday night's meeting. The firm's requests for its 44-acre site were approved by the city planning panel in May and will be considered by the city council at its meeting at 6:30 p.m.

John Davenport, president of engineering, design and consulting firm Davenport, said that one of the main issues that has been coming up in recent meetings for The Avenue is working to explain how the more than $2.5 million in improvements The Carroll Companies plans to make will either help the traffic situation on Military Cutoff Road or result in no change. 

Part of the problem is that when people hear that Military Cutoff has an "F" level of service, it doesn't take into account the whole picture, Davenport said.

"In the traffic engineering world, most engineers when they're designing a roadway for 20 years, they design for a 'D,'" Davenport explained.

That's because "if you design it for an 'A,' that means you shouldn't have any congestion any time whatsoever, which means that I-40 between Wilmington and Raleigh would be eight lanes instead of four."

But in that imagined Interstate 40 scenario, that area doesn't require eight to 10 lanes to accommodate the traffic, so that design would result in a wasted investment, Davenport said. 

The improvements planned because of The Avenue take into account an originial site plan that has changed in scope of property uses. While a Westin hotel and conference center, along with a spa, apartments, office space and high-end retailers, are part of the plan, a grocery store and drive-through restaurants, commercial uses that would have generated more traffic, are not, explained Livian Jones, a consultant for The Carroll Companies.

Swain said he believes Center Point has a good shot at approval during the 6 p.m. Wednesday meeting.

"I am optimistic because the community has seen what I have done in the community," Swain said.

Swain & Associates will be moving its offices to Center Point, where construction is not expected to start until the extension of Drysdale Drive is complete, possibly by 2020.  

Construction on The Avenue isn't expected to start for at least 14 months, Jones said, if the project's requests are approved Tuesday night.  
Ico insights

INSIGHTS

SPONSORS' CONTENT
Jim ellis headshot 10311631058

Questions to Ask Before Choosing a Digital Agency

Jim Ellis - Signal
Alyce 4 april242017

Investors with A Cause Can Put their Money Where their Hearts Are

Alyce Phillips - Old North State Trust LLC
Burrus rob headshot 300x300

Held for Ransom(ware): You AND Your Company. How NOT to be a Victim

Robert Burrus - Cameron School of Business - UNC-Wilmington

Trending News

Wish You Were Here? Local Airbnb Rental Lands On The Most Wish Lists For New Hanover County

Cece Nunn - Jun 18, 2019

N.C. Azalea Festival Announces Board

Christina Haley O'Neal - Jun 18, 2019

Luxury Home Sales Reach Record Height In May

Cece Nunn - Jun 17, 2019

Retail Store Benefiting Human Trafficking Survivors Opens Downtown

Johanna Cano - Jun 18, 2019

Scoopin’ Yummies A Sweet Sensation In Carolina Beach

Jessica Maurer - Jun 18, 2019

In The Current Issue

Building Efforts To Attract Workers

With demand running high for construction industry workers, officials with area training programs and companies are looking for ways to attr...


Firms Navigate Latest Tax Law Changes

During tax season this year, media reports indicated that the many changes in the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2018 were producing confusion amo...


WilmingtonBiz Magazine's Health Issue Is Out

The Greater Wilmington Business Journal's latest edition of the WilmingtonBiz Magazine is out. The issue takes an in-depth look at the area'...

Book On Business

The 2019 WilmingtonBiz: Book on Business is an annual publication showcasing the Wilmington region as a center of business.

Order Your Copy Today!


Galleries

Videos

2019 WilmingtonBiz Expo Keynote Lunch - CEO, nCino, Pierre Naude`
Transporting the Future - Power Breakfast 3.12.2019
Health Care Heroes 2018