WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) - The former WAVE bus maintenance facility on Castle Street currently sits empty and idle, but things might finally be moving in the direction of development after a Wilmington City Council agenda briefing.
At the meeting Monday morning, the council heard a report on the status of the project — namely that the Wilmington Southside Community Development Corporation (WSCDC) has still not submitted a proposal to develop the site.
In 2007, the council passed a resolution of intent to transfer the property to WSCDC for the purpose of a community development that would include affordable housing, public meeting space, and other amenities.
WAVE vacated the property in 2015, and in 2016 the city council appropriated $25,000 toward the project. That money, however, has not been paid out due to the lack of a development proposal.
In May, WSCDC requested more time to submit a proposal but did not give a date-certain for when that proposal would be delivered.
The 1.5-acre property is zoned urban mixed-use, and city staff said the location is well-suited for infield development.
City staff gave three possible options: granting WSCDC more time, selling the property or engaging in a public-private partnership to develop the property.
Nearly all the council members indicated they were most interested in selling the property.
"That is coming to be a hot area," Councilor Kevin O'Grady said. "I'm sure we'll have a bidder on it."
Councilors Neil Anderson and Clifford Barnett asked if it is possible to have any oversight on what would be developed, but city legal counsel said the options are limited.
Councilor Charles Rivenbark noted, however, that with the other development happening on Castle Street, a developer would be likely to build something that includes a residential element with amenities that could be enjoyed by the public.
"Otherwise, I don't think he's a smart developer," Rivenbark said. "I think whoever buys it is going to be looking to the city, not to help, but to do something that's pleasing to the city."
City staff indicated they would begin the process of bringing an official vote on the matter to the council.