WilmingtonBiz Talk

WilmingtonBiz Talk: Downtown Update

By Vicky Janowski, posted Feb 18, 2021

Construction hasn’t slowed for downtown Wilmington. To share updates on activity that’s happening and where projects stand, we talk this week with two of the players in the central business district, including Wilmington Downtown Inc.’s new leader.

"We're changing gears a little bit here at WDI," said Holly Childs, who started at the beginning of the year as the group's president and CEO. "I think WDI is going to focus  more on expanding our role to be very project-based and partnership-based. And we're going to look at how we support development throughout downtown whether it be residential or jobs focused."

Joining Childs in the discussion was Lucien Ellison, senior managing partner for East West Partners. He gave an update on the new 13-story, mixed-used River Place development.

"We're pretty much finished with the construction. We have a few punch list items that we're working through right now, but sales of the condominiums have been really good," he said. "We have 82 of the 92 condos either under contract or closed at this point."

Apartment units are about 40% occupied so far, said Ellison, who added that 94% of the building's retail space is leased up.

"Axis Fitness, Mellow Mushroom, DGX and Bank of America are already operating. Ruth's Chris [Steak House], Citrus Salon and The Nutrition Spot are coming online this summer," he said about businesses opening in the development, which is the result of a public-private partnership with the city of Wilmington.

"I'd say we've done what we started out to do, which was bring residences and businesses to downtown Wilmington and specifically to activate Water Street and make it a better place to live and work," Ellison said.

View the full conversation below. Also listen to this and future weekly WilmingtonBiz Talk discussions on the Business Journal's new podcast, available on Apple Podcasts, Spotify and Stitcher.

BizTalk is livestreamed on the Business Journal's Facebook page each week at noon Thursday. For notifications on upcoming topics, sign up for newsletters at and to submit topic or speaker ideas, email [email protected].

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