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Real Estate - Residential

Downtown Wilmington Property Fetches $2M An Acre

By Cece Nunn, posted Aug 2, 2019
A Virginia-based firm that specializes in mixed-use apartment developments last week bought 2 acres in downtown Wilmington for $4.25 million.

The property, at 19 Harnett St., is currently the paved parking lot where diners park for Marina Grill, a restaurant at Port City Marina on the Cape Fear River in northern downtown. 

The buyer was Kettler, of McLean, Virginia, which already owns St. Andrews Reserve at 814 St. Andrews Drive in midtown Wilmington. The seller was NRMH Holdings LLC, managed by Chuck Schoninger, CEO of USA InvestCo. 

Property tax records show the same Kettler limited liability company also bought 1 acre at 41 Harnett St. from Golden Marina LLC for $1.25 million on the same day, July 25, as the 19 Harnett St. purchase. Golden Marina LLC is managed by John C. Wang, a partner in USA InvestCo., according to the deed and USA InvestCo.'s website.

Schoninger said Marina Grill and Port City Marina are expected to have designated parking spaces in a future parking deck.

A Kettler spokesperson said in an email Thursday that the project is in preliminary planning stages, and the company hopes to submit plans to the city within a few months.

Founded in 1977, Kettler has developed more than 20,000 multifamily units, 5 million square feet of commercial space and more than 46,000 homes in 25 master-planned communities, according to the company's website.

City planners said Kettler in November last year had discussed a proposal for a skybridge that would stretch from 19 Harnett St. to another parcel, but they had not heard any more from the company on the subject since then.

Currently, more than 500 apartments are under construction on the northern riverfront in downtown Wilmington, part of two apartment communities: The Flats on Front and Pier 33 apartments. 

Schoninger has estimated, in a WilmingtonBiz Magazine article in March, that the area around Port City Marina will eventually contain about $750 million worth of development, including the $50 million his company and investors have spent there.
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