By next week, the city of Wilmington is expected to own 820 N. Second St., a property that will add to the city's holdings at its northern entrance.
The Wilmington City Council voted unanimously Tuesday night to allocate $4.8 million for the purchase of the 1.88-acre parcel from the Salvation Army, which has been using it for its shelter, administrative offices and a thrift store.
"In acquiring this property, the city will have in its portfolio another economic development asset downtown," said Aubrey Parsley, the city's economic development director, to the council at its regular meeting Tuesday. "It’s a complement to the current portfolio with Project Gateway being immediately north of this property. It provides additional opportunities for the city to shape the way in which the north end of downtown develops."
Project Gateway refers to the plans that have been underway in recent years between city officials and development firm East West Partners to transform the city's northern gateway. Project Gateway, envisioned as a major mixed-use development, would also involve city-owned properties around the Salvation Army site – 1020, 908 and 922 N. Front St. and 901 N. Third St.
Parsley said the closing on the 820 N. Second St. property is set to take place either Jan. 18 or 19. He said the sale would come with a 90-day leaseback to the Salvation Army to allow the nonprofit organization time to move out and coordinate with other nonprofits in the area to ensure continuation of services "as much as possible."
Councilman Charlie Rivenbark suggested a 120-day leaseback option in case the Salvation Army needs more time to make sure its shelter residents get the help they need.
Efforts to reach a Salvation Army representative were not immediately successful Wednesday afternoon.
Planning a new campus in Wilmington, the Salvation Army in 2016 bought more than 20 acres at 1220 N. 30th St. In October, the Wilmington City Council voted to award Salvation Army $1.3 million from pandemic recovery funds to help build a roadway to its new facility at 1220 N. 30th St., the Center of Hope Shelter and Corps Community Center.
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