Downtown Wilmington is getting a Mellow Mushroom, possibly by next year.
The pizza restaurant has joined the tenant roster for River Place, the more than $80 million mixed-use project under construction at 200 N. Water St., according to an announcement by Wilmington-based commercial real estate firm Cape Fear Commercial.
Down By the River LLC, doing business as Mellow Mushroom, recently signed a lease for 4,580 square feet of space on the ground level of the 13-story development, marking the restaurant chain’s third location in the local market, the release stated.
Cape Fear Commercial served as a dual agent in the lease transaction, with Patrick Riley representing the landlord, East West Partners, and Howard Coupland representing the tenant, according to the release.
Chapel Hill-based East West Partners is redeveloping the site of the former Water Street parking deck in partnership with the city of Wilmington to create River Place.
East West partner Lee Perry said in the release, “We were seeking an energetic and casual dining atmosphere to activate this marquee outdoor waterfront space at the corner of Chestnut and Water Streets, and we believe Mellow Mushroom to be the perfect fit. With Circa Restaurant Group, Axis Fitness and Mellow Mushroom onboard as anchor tenants for River Place, the table is now set to pull pedestrian foot traffic north along the Water Street riverfront."
Mellow Mushroom was founded in Atlanta in 1974.
Local Mellow Mushroom franchisees Robert Ray and Kevin Dukes opened their first store on Oleander Drive in 2003 and just recently completed a renovation of the establishment, the release stated. The duo also operates another location on Causeway Drive in Wrightsville Beach, which they opened in 2011.
“The folks of Wilmington and Wrightsville Beach have been so good to us, and we are just very excited to finally be a part of downtown Wilmington,” Ray said in the release. “We looked at a spot in the area 15 years ago for our first store, but as it turned out, ended up on Oleander Drive. Over the years, we have always wondered what could have been, so we are thrilled for the opportunity to be part of such an epic project on the riverfront and can’t wait to be a part of a community where we are already friends with so many businesses.”
According to a statement from Riley in the release, “There has been an uptick in retail leasing activity now that construction of River Place is underway. With the execution of Mellow Mushroom’s lease, 60 percent of the project’s 32,000 square feet of commercial space is now pre-leased.”
In addition to the retail component, River Place will feature luxury condominiums and apartments, as well as public and private parking once complete.
The release stated that Ray and Dukes expect to open their new downtown location by April 2020.