What We Do for Downtown

Our Mission Statement

WDI's mission is to promote the economic growth and development of downtown Wilmington. We are a public-private partnership. These are the essential components of our mission:

  • Recruit businesses. Using demographic data and market research, WDI staff and volunteers identify opportunities for new entrepreneurs and seek to attract new investment into Downtown.  To maintain downtown's mixed use character, WDI works with retail, restaurant, hospitality, residential and office prospects.  
  • Develop the downtown economy. To maintain a healthy economic mix, improve real estate values, grow the sales tax base and create jobs, Wilmington Downtown works to encourage and facilitate a wide range of growth initiatives. We help by maintaining information about real estate available for lease or sale, economic incentive programs including historic preservation tax credits, special zoning and land use codes, parking data and development trends.  We also administer a loan program to help finance investment projects. 
  • Revitalize downtown. To keep downtown attractive to investors, shoppers, tourists, diners, patrons of the arts and residents, Wilmington Downtown works with local government and private interests to make physical improvements and manage public space in downtown. This encompasses preserving downtown's historic character, enhancing the scenic riverfront, revitalizing significant old buildings, beautifying streets, buildings, sidewalks, alleys and other public space.  WDI also works closely with law enforcement officers to provide a safe environment for workers, shoppers, clients, visitors and residents.
  • Promote downtown. To ensure that the region's residents, as well as tourists, visitors and potential investors, are aware of downtown's unique attractions and importance to the region's economy, Wilmington Downtown promotes downtown using multiple platforms. Through news media contacts, press releases, a newsletter, web site, social media and other means, Wilmington Downtown collaborates with tourism, economic development and cultural organizations to promote Downtown in North Carolina and across the nation as an attractive visitor destination and business location.
  • Support existing downtown businesses. To maintain a healthy and diverse central business district, Wilmington Downtown helps retailers and other downtown businesses by assisting with regulatory and financing issues, parking and public safety, events and promotion.  WDI also produces events such as the Downtown Sundown Concert Series to draw visitors to Downtown.
  • Assist with site selection.  Through our knowledge of Downtown real estate, development trends and ownership patterns, WDI can help prospective investors identify optimum locations for shops, offices, residences or hotels.  We work on a free and confidential basis to help identify sites for acquisition, location or development.  
  • Act as a liaison between diverse interest groups and government. Downtown has many constituencies, whose interests sometimes diverge: retailers, residents, commercial property owners, office tenants, restaurants and nightclubs, government agencies, shoppers, diners and tourists. To help these groups find common ground, to help local government communicate with private interests, and to help represent private interests before government agencies is an essential role for Wilmington Downtown, particularly for its board of directors.