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Real Estate - Commercial

South College Road Project, Motel Conversion Granted Rezonings

By Cece Nunn, posted Oct 6, 2021
Rendering of a proposed mixed-use project on South College Road planned to include 298 apartments (File rendering)

Plans to build a mixed-use project on South College Road and convert motel buildings on Market Street to housing have moved forward after the Wilmington City Council approved rezonings for the project sites.

On Market Street, California-based Vivo Investment Group has 7.7 acres under contract that include two motels operating out of the same lobby.

The company’s aim is to transform the Budgetel Inn and Motel 6 at 4903 Market St. into 230 renovated apartments.

Brett Tanimoto, chief investment officer and partner for Vivo Investment Group, said in a previous Greater Wilmington Business Journal story, “We are creating market-rate apartments and do not rely on any government subsidies. Vivo Apartments are priced 10-20% lower than the average apartment in a given market.”

On Wednesday, Tanimoto said in an email, "We will upgrade the property with amenities seen in Class A apartments, including fully renovated interiors, new kitchen appliances, gym, tenant amenity lounge, co-working space, high-speed internet, laundry facilities, pool, barbecue, and green space."

Of the timeline for the project, he said, "The motel operations will stop and construction will be beginning in 2022 after permits are processed through the city." 

Eastern Carolinas Commercial Real Estate vice president John Hinnant and ECCRE partner Nicholas Silivanch are representing the seller, Hotels Plus LLC, in the sale to Vivo.

“This rezoning and adaptive reuse of what the city deemed to be a blighted area in our community will help change the Market Street Corridor in the short term and in the long term," Silivanch said in a news release. "The property will bring new rental units for the students who are graduating, the single upwardly mobile young professionals, those who are relocating and the need for affordable rentals together."

Conversions of hotels like this are very popular around the country, Hinnant said. 

"We believe this, along with other deals we have and are brokering will help to improve and beautify the Market Street corridor. Since the improvements to the intersection at Market and Kerr, the properties along that corridor have become more appealing to investors and developers," Hinnant said in the release. "With the amount of land available for development in New Hanover County dwindling, it is only reasonable to believe that repurposing existing properties will be a key part of the future of our community.”

Also granted a rezoning by the council Tuesday was the site for Paseo, a mixed-use project proposed by Craig Davis Properties and Bella Vista Development Group, in the 800 block of South College Road.

The development, planned on the former site of a car dealership, is expected to include 298 apartments, a 364-space parking deck and 15,000 square feet of commercial space.

In a third rezoning request considered by the Wilmington City Council on Tuesday, The rezoning of about 1.9 acres at 3380 and 3400 Masonboro Loop Road to a multifamily designation for a 16-unit townhome development was referred back to the city's planning commission, according to meeting results published on the city's website.

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