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WilmingtonBiz Magazine

Downtown Investment Adds Up

By Christina Haley O'Neal, posted Apr 6, 2018
Investment in downtown Wilmington is on pace to top more than half a billion dollars during the economic recovery, according to Ed Wolverton, president and CEO of Wilmington Downtown Inc.

Since 2010, there have been 23 major projects completed downtown including residential and commercial structures, as well as public buildings, Wolverton said. Those major projects have totaled $324.3 million, he said.

Adding to the investment are five projects that have broken ground, representing $87.4 million, and seven projects totaling more than $116
million that have been announced, Wolverton said. The largest of these upcoming projects is River Place, an $83.6 million mixed-use development off Water Street, which has broken ground. Another ongoing project is an infill development at 200 Market St., an old parking lot that now is planned to feature restaurant and retail space.

Other announced projects include Pier 33 apartments, North Waterfront Park and the new Aloft Hotel.

The completed, ongoing or announced projects total about $528 million worth of downtown investment in less than a decade.

And in terms of the value of taxable property downtown, the city’s central business district grew 32 percent between 2012 and 2017, Wolverton said.

That growth is set to continue in the coming years, he said. Future growth trends downtown could include another wave of downtown’s north side development, renovations or rehabilitation of historic buildings and work on targeted infill projects. Investment is also likely to spill over to infill projects in the Brooklyn Arts and Castle Street Arts and Antique districts, Wolverton said.

“Downtowns across the country are experiencing a significant level of growth, with many factors contributing to that growth, and we expect to see those trends continue,” he said. “The only real cautionary tale is that we only have so much land downtown in terms of undeveloped land. So, at some point, we start running out of land. But we are not there yet.”

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