The Wilmington Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors and investors in the Chamber’s flagship program, Cape Fear Future, provided input to representatives from the UNC School of Government’s Development Finance Initiative (DFI) on potential uses of the Water Street parking deck in downtown Wilmington (across from the Hilton Wilmington Riverside). DFI has been hired by the City of Wilmington, which owns the property, to provide predevelopment services in furtherance of preparing the Water Street parcel for private-sector redevelopment.
DFI presented initial analysis that examines the viability of the potential uses of the site that the market would support.
“We had an excellent, in-depth discussion with valuable input from the developers, bankers and other Cape Fear Future investors and Chamber board members who provided some real-world expertise that market analysis might not provide,” said Wilmington Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors and Cape Fear Future Chairman Hal Kitchin (McGuireWoods, LLP). “The Water Street parking deck is a key parcel in the Central Business District and has great potential. We have an opportunity to add to the City’s tax base, spur other development downtown, and provide an additional quality-of-life amenity for residents and visitors. The Chamber, through our Cape Fear Future initiative, has worked—and will continue to work—with the City to ensure this property is redeveloped in the best way possible, with an eye towards both feasible private development and appropriate public use.”
The public portion of DFI’s work will include a comprehensive plan process, a survey on the City’s website to garner further public input, and an entitlement process with the City.
“The input provided by the Chamber boards was very valuable,” said Development Finance Initiative Analyst Christy Raulli. “We would like to meet with them again as the process moves forward to tap into their expertise even more.”