WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) - Mellow Mushroom is expanding its Wilmington franchise by planning to open a new location downtown.
The restaurant recently signed a lease for 4,580 square feet of space on the ground level of River Place, a mixed-use project currently under construction on Water Street.
“We are thrilled that Mellow Mushroom has chosen to open a new location at River Place,” said Lee Perry, a partner with East West Partners, whose Chapel Hill-based firm is redeveloping the site of the former Water Street parking deck. “We were seeking an energetic and casual dining atmosphere to activate this marquee outdoor waterfront space at the corner of Chestnut and Water Streets, and we believe Mellow Mushroom to be the perfect fit.”
“The folks of Wilmington and Wrightsville Beach have been so good to us, and we are just very excited to finally be a part of downtown Wilmington,” said Mellow Mushroom franchisees Robert Ray. “We looked at a spot in the area 15 years ago for our first store, but as it turned out, ended up on Oleander Drive. Over the years, we have always wondered what could have been, so we are thrilled for the opportunity to be part of such an epic project on the riverfront and can’t wait to be a part of a community where we are already friends with so many businesses.”
Ray and Dukes opened the first Mellow Mushroom store on Oleander Drive in 2003. The duo also operates another location on Causeway Drive, which they opened in 2011. They expect to open the downtown location by April 2020.
“We are thrilled for the opportunity to be part of such an epic project on the riverfront and can’t wait to be a part of a community where we are already friends with so many businesses,” Ray said.
The $20 million River Place development will replace the Water Street parking deck with 26,000 square feet of parking, retail shops, restaurants and 170 apartments. With construction of the development underway, there has been an uptick in retail leasing activity.
“With the execution of Mellow Mushroom’s lease, 60 percent of the project’s 32,000 square feet of commercial space is now pre-leased,” said Patrick Riley who is representing the landlord, SCP-EW River Place LLC d/b/a East West Partners.
Some of the other tenants at River Place include Ash Aziz’s restaurant Bijou on the River, Axis Fitness, and Rocketfizz, a franchise chain store specializing in soda, candy, and novelty items.