Group hopes to purchase property near proposed ballpark for luxury residential development

WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) - South Street Partners, which is a Charlotte based private real estate investment company is looking to purchase the Upper Dean Tract, a property adjacent to the proposed minor league ballpark, according to a news release. The property would serve as grounds for a proposed future development, described "a mixture of high end residential units and ground floor retail."

Patrick Melton of South Street Partners feels that the new development, along with the proposed ballpark, would represent a significant investment in the future of downtown Wilmington.

"We are serious about making downtown Wilmington a magnet for economic development. We know that the ballpark will make this area of downtown a true destination for entertainment and business. A mixed-use project overlooking the ballpark will be another key asset in the areas ongoing development," said Melton.

"Well executed residential and commercial projects can flourish on sites adjacent to new ballpark developments. One need look no further than the public-private partnerships forged in the cities of Durham, Dayton and Winston-Salem for evidence of this. When you take into account that all of this development will take place along the river, the sky's the limited," said Melton.

South Street is currently in negotiations with the owner and hopes to develop a mixture of high end residential units and ground floor retail on the site.

South Street Partners' offer is contingent on the passage of the Wilmington ballpark bond referendum in next week's election.

According to documents filed with the Secretary of State's office, Melton is listed as the manager of Sawmill Point Investors, LLC, a group that purchased the adjacent Sawmill Marina property in July. Sawmill Point Investors is also based in Charlotte. We reached out to Melton for comment on his relationship with both LLC's. According to Melton, although Sawmill Point Investors and South Street Partners have different names they are one in the same.

We first reported in August that the Sawmill Marina site was being considered as a possible location for a baseball stadium by the city of Wilmington. The city prepared a draft option agreement to purchase the former site of the marina project, contingent on if voters approved a $37 million dollar bond referendum on November 6. The city also has a similar draft option agreement drafted to purchase a riverfront property owned by developer Chuck Schoninger. Mayor Bill Saffo had indicated both sites were under consideration.

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