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Real Estate - Commercial

New Tenants Announced For Military Cutoff Development

By Cece Nunn, posted Mar 30, 2020
A rendering shows the building (on the left) where Blue Surf Cafe will open a second location at Arboretum West off Military Cutoff Road in Wilmington. (Rendering courtesy of Steve Hall)

Two additional commercial tenants signed leases for space recently at Arboretum West, a mixed-use apartment community under construction off Military Cutoff and Station roads in Wilmington.

The largest of two commercial structures in the development is set to hold a second location of Blue Surf Cafe, a restaurant in Racine Commons at 250 Racine Drive near the University of North Carolina Wilmington.

Fitness concept F45 has also signed a lease, for about 2,100 square feet at Arboretum West, said Steve Hall, listing agent and partner with Wilmington-based commercial real estate firm Maus, Warwick, Matthews & Co.

In addition to 360 apartments, Arboretum West will contain about 18,000 square feet of commercial space in total. The smaller of the two buildings will hold a previously announced tenant: coffee shop Port City Java and its drive-thru.

Blue Surf managing partner Colleen Kochanek said the timing feels weird because of ongoing measures to slow the spread of the new coronavirus. Blue Surf Cafe is working to keep as many people employed at its Racine Commons location (including offering delivery, curbside take-out and family meals) as it can even as it plans the second location.

“At the same time, we need to look forward to the future and after this [a time of coronavirus restrictions] is over,” Kochanek said Monday.

She said, “The new place will be just a little bit of a step up” from the current Blue Surf Cafe, which has been operating since 2013. Before that, it was called Surf House.

The new Blue Surf location, with 3,300 indoor square feet, will have a full bar, 1,500 square feet of outdoor dining and a fireplace, among other differences. 

“We’ll really expand our dinner menu,” said Kochanek, who describes the style of Blue Surf’s food offerings as Americana with a twist that also includes healthy options.

The Blue Surf at Arboretum West will have the same chef, Jon Webb, who will also be a part-owner in the new location.

Kochanek said the plan is to duplicate the cozy feel that’s been established at the Blue Surf Cafe at Racine Commons. 

Meanwhile, the Facebook page for F45 Training Mayfaire explains more about the fitness chain, which has locations that are independently owned and operated, and its philosophy. According to F45’s website, the “F” stands for “functional training,” or a mix of circuit and high-intensity interval training workouts that last for 45 minutes.

Hall said the fitness studio could be open by this summer.

For Blue Surf, Kochanek said construction on the shell of the building that will house the second location is expected to take a couple of months, with upfit taking a few months after that.

“We’re looking at the fall” for an opening, she said, adding, “I’d really like to think by then we’re through all this [the changes wrought by the coronavirus pandemic] and people are ready to go out and have some fun, eat some good food and check out our new place.”

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