By Kendall McGee | April 26, 2021 at 6:05 PM EDT – Updated April 26 at 8:27 PM
WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) – Wilmington business leaders are looking forward to a newly announced development that will drive more visitors to the historically blue collar South 5th Avenue neighborhood.
Monarch Property Co. is accepting applications now for chefs, food hall vendors, commissary members and artisans to eventually take residence in the former National Linen Service Building. The company has pledged $20 million worth of renovations to the 43,000 square foot building and hopes to complete the work by early 2023.
“I’ve been waiting for the action to come to this block for 21 years,” said the owner of the Rusty Nail, Sandy Williams.
Williams bought the Blues venue and bar when National Linen was running full force across the street. She remembers everything changed for the bar two years in, when it shut down.
“It was a hustle bustle, but since the closing of National Linen, I’ve seen that building just get completely neglected,” added Williams.
The property has changed hands several times, but little has been done over the last 19 years to revitalize the building.
The warehouse is fenced off and sporting broken windows today, but the renovations are expected to begin soon, totally transforming it into a space for concerts, events, and chefs to pour life into the neighborhood.
“Having something under-utilized become fully utilized is a dream,” said WDI chair Dane Scalise. “This is South Front, Greenfield Lake area — it’s absolutely one of the next up-and-coming places. I think we can already see that it’s on the way, and with this introduction of a major enterprise into the area, I think, yeah, there’s gonna be a lot of further development that’s going to follow this.”
It’s all music to Williams’ ears after a tough pandemic year. The Rusty Nail has seen a lot of change in the 65 years it’s been open and news of the Seaboard Social Hall is a shot of confidence to the blues venue and hope that it will see many more.
“I see younger people moving into the houses in the neighborhood. It becomes a walkabout. It’s becoming a district. We have to face it, and I couldn’t be more excited,” said Williams.
The City of Wilmington issued the following statement on the announcement of Seaboard Social Hall:
“The re-development of older industrial sites such as the National Linen Service Building is consistent with the city’s comprehensive plan and is something the city encourages. Re-development is efficient because it re-uses existing buildings and taps into existing infrastructure such as streets, sidewalks, water, and sewer. It also tends to enhance the surrounding neighborhood by bringing life to property that has been ignored for decades. It’s a plus when that re-use is naturally compatible with the designated zoning. The next step for this property will be a consultation between the developer and the Technical Review Committee for a site plan review.”
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