In Fall 2016, WDI partnered with New Hanover County to direct a project to evaluate the market demand and development opportunities for a government-owned block bounded by Grace, Chestnut, 2nd and 3rd Streets. Working with stakeholders, WDI developed and published an Request For Proposal to hire a firm(s) to complete a market demand study and a site analysis for 3-acre site. Here is the RFP.
This competitive process attracted responses from throughout North America and WDI selected a team comprised of Benchmark Planning, Kimley Horn Associates and Moser Mayer Phoenix for the work. New Hanover County funded the consultants work and WDI provided free project management services for the project.
The final report concluded that Downtown has additional demand for new residential, hotel, retail and office space. Further, the report provides 4 different options that County leaders could pursue to attract more private sector investment to this site. Here is a link to the report highlights. Here is a link to the complete report.
Development options vary. The County could decide to keep the current library building and Story Park and issue an RFP to attract new investment to the Grace Street side of the block. A bolder scenario suggests building a new multi-use structure along Chestnut Street to be shared by the library, the Cape Fear Museum and new upper floor residential along with attracting new development to Grace Street for new multi-use buildings. The different scenarios include budget impacts for New Hanover County and examines new property taxes and parking fees generated by each development option.
Over the coming months, County leaders will examine each option and finalize an approach for redeveloping the site. WDI will monitor this process and is eager to encourage new infill investment at this key Downtown site.