By Michael Praats | April 21, 2021 at 5:44 PM EDT – Updated April 21 at 5:45 PM
WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) – Since 2019 the City of Wilmington has been considering a new public-private development – the so-called Gateway Project. Now, it appears the city is ready to start moving forward with it.
On Tuesday City Council agreed to purchase less than a half-an-acre of land on the Northside of town, between Third Street and Front Street to move forward with the project.
The project consists of about 8 acres of prime real estate near the PPD building, and city leaders are hoping to bring much-needed services to the area with the project. The purpose of the public-private partnership is to allow the city some say over what the gateway to Wilmington looks like.
“To be able to control what that look looks like feels like, and what the goals and the objectives of the city are we felt compelled that we should buy the property so we could have a say in that because the state of North Carolina does not allow cities to dictate the aesthetics of a building or what could be built there,” Mayor Bill Saffo said.
The property the city purchased was for just more than $600,000.
East-West Partners, the developer of River Place had their proposal selected in 2019 to complete the project, however, the city has not entered into an official agreement with them as of now.
“Hopefully it will meet a lot of the objectives that the city has with regards to affordable housing, a grocery store on the north side that a lot of people have been talking about, some office space,” Saffo said speaking to what he hoped to see built on the land.
There is no timeline in place just yet, but Saffo said he hopes to see some movement start within the next year.
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