Real Estate - Commercial

Appraisal To Move Forward This Week On Former Wave Transit Building

By Christina Haley O'Neal, posted Feb 20, 2019
The city of Wilmington is set to move forward with an appraisal this week of a 1.5 acre Castle Street property once used as a Wave Transit bus maintenance facility.

Meanwhile, the future of that property remains unclear.

The property, located at 1110 Castle St., is slated to be visited by an appraiser Thursday, but the full report is expected within 30 days, Dylan Lee, spokesman for the city of Wilmington, said Wednesday. 

That appraisal is part of actions Wilmington City Council seeks have done for the city-owned property in the coming weeks, ahead of its meeting on March 19.

On Tuesday, Wilmington City Council directed staff at its meeting to work up a Request for Proposals (RFP) for the Castle Street property, again steering away from a resolution on its agenda to declare it surplus property.

Had the council made the decision to approve its original resolution, the property would have gone through a bid process, and go the highest bidder. Instead, city staff is slated to come up with its RFP and council will take up the discussion again on March 19.

The RFP could open up proposals for both nonprofit and for-profit entities, council members said at the meeting on Tuesday.

George Taylor, chairman of TRU Colors, a group interested in the property, said Wednesday that he was pleased to see council move forward with the RFP process, rather than reach a decision to go through a bid process as originally intended.

“One way or another they are going to put somebody in there that is a good fit for that community and has the wherewithal and means to do that,” Taylor said.

Taylor, by way of the newly formed nonprofit corporation TRU Impact, had submitted a proposal to the city, which was discussed at the council's its January meeting. Council decided to push back a decision on the property at that meeting as well.

TRU Impact's proposal outlined the details of its plan to buy the property at fair market value and lease it to Tru Colors, a 42-employee for-profit company that employs active gang members as a way to combat gang-related violence.

That proposal included a two-phase project that would be home to TRU Colors' planned brewery business and a social mission division.

Tru Impact will participate in the RFP process, Taylor said, adding that it can work with the timeline of the RFP process outlined by council Tuesday.
“We think we are the best opportunity for the community, but we will see,” Taylor said.
“I think the council made exactly the right decision. And for us, it’s a structure that we can work with. We think we can have a good shot at having the result we would like and intend to achieve,” Taylor said.

TRU Impact is not the only organization that has asked about the property. City staff told council Tuesday that other community-driven organizations, as well as private bidders, have approached the city. 

A full list of those parties obtained from the city Wednesday are, Wilmington Historic Foundation, Nourish NC, Special Pedals, New Hanover County Schools, TRU Impact, Mike Brown (GHK Cape Fear Development) and Allan Casavant, a developer.

Correction: This story has been updated to include the full list of those that have inquired about the Castle Street property.
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