Downtown Wilmington surges post-Hurricane Florence

Downtown Wilmington surging post-Hurricane Florence

WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) - Downtown Wilmington is seeing a mini-renaissance in the new year, post-Hurricane Florence.

“It’s changing all the time,” said Ed Wolverton with Wilmington Downtown Inc. “We’ve got lots of movement in the upcoming weeks.”

First up is a Jan. 18 groundbreaking ceremony for the Aloft Hotel, a boutique chain that’s building a 125-room hotel next to the Coastline Conference and Convention Center. Fifty parking places have already been assigned to the hotel for future guest parking.

Construction is expected to take more than year to complete with an anticipated opening date of spring 2020.

“They’re moving earth as we speak,” said Wolverton regarding the new Pier 33 Apartment Complex construction. That project was stalled for several years as design plans were changed and financing finalized. Now people will see construction crews digging in front of the Port City Marina.

That mixed-use project is being built by Raleigh developer, Dewitt Carolinas. It will have a parking deck, close to 300 apartments and more than 24,000 square feet of retail space.

“We’re excited to finally see movement there, and expect a groundbreaking ceremony later this month,” Wolverton explained.

A new multi-use retail space is nearing completion in an old, empty lot at the corner of Market and Second streets. 200 Market Street will be home to more than half a dozen retail stores.

City Limits Saloon, a popular night spot located on South Front Street, is moving to that new location. Most of the retail space is already leased, including a spot by Noonie Doodle Sweets and Treats which currently has a shop located on Bald Head Island. In a Facebook post earlier this week, the owners of Noonie Doodle Sweets and Treats expect to open their new shop at 200 Market Street in March.

Clean Juice is a store up and running in the original Port City Java location at 300 North Front Street. This is the company’s second location.

A new Italian restaurant is slated to open soon at 2 Market Street. That iconic building, located along the waterfront, was sold in 2018 and has been renovated. The restaurant will take the place of the old Riverboat Landing, which was a downtown staple for more than 30 years.

“We’ve got several things in the works” said Wolverton. “It’s exciting to see things happen.”

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