City council delays WAVE transit station decision, allows hotel expansion

A decision on the future of the WAVE facility has been pushed back until March

Wave Transit property, Arrive hotel among City Council agenda items

WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) - Wilmington City Council delayed a decision on the future of the former WAVE Transit facility, located at the intersection of Castle and 11th streets. Council will revisit the issue at a meeting March 19.

Council heard a resolution on the property being put up for competitive bid and sold. This delay, however, gives council time to conduct a valuation of the property and put together a request for proposal (RFP).

The city is considering the option to sell the property to a nonprofit group and put covenants into place to ensure the property is put to public use.

Several groups have expressed interest in purchasing the lot, including the TRU Colors Brewing Company.

Following the discussion, TRU Colors Founder George Taylor said, “Our main goal was to target that property for something that was good for the Southside community and downtown as a whole. The concern was if they passed a resolution tonight to sell it in a public a bid process anyone could buy it so we could end up with a storage unit or apartment complex. There’s nothing wrong with those but that’s not going to uplift the Southside community.”

During Monday’s agenda meeting, city attorney John Joyce told council members that George Taylor, the man behind TRU Colors, has formed a nonprofit called TRU Impact. Joyce said TRU Impact has offered to pay fair market value for the property and that he believes a direct purchase by the group is feasible.

The goal of TRU Impact is to open a brewery that will employ gang members, giving them job and growth opportunities.

During that initial discussion, council members were split on how the city should move forward with ridding itself of the property. Click here for details on that debate.

Update from Wilmington Housing Authority

The head of the Wilmington Housing Authority (WHA) updated city council members on its efforts from the past year at council’s meeting Tuesday night.

WHA CEO Katrina Redmon talked about efforts to rebuild in the aftermath of Hurricane Florence.

Redmon said Florence caused $2.5 million in damages to WHA properties and neighbors affected were moved to properties that had vacancies. She said no one who needed shelter was left without a home.

Repairs will be covered by insurance and money from the agency’s capital fund.

In all, Redmon said over the past year, WHA served 3,300 families in our community.

Wilmington Convention Center

The convention center lost 19 events due to damage from Hurricane Florence.

City council received an update on operations at the facility Tuesday night.

Still, half the events rebooked events this year.

Event bookings are growing overall. In fiscal year 2019, the convention center has 32 event days booked; in fiscal year 2020, the center has 56 event days scheduled.

Arrive Hotel

In a 5-2 vote, council approved a plan for the Arrive Hotel, located at the corner of Second and Dock streets, to add rooms.

Arrive is renovating the former Wilmingtonian Hotel.

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It wants to expand its footprint to the building next door, the property known as the Riverwalk Hotel. Arrive plans to increase the number of rooms to 14 from eight.

Arrive wants to end the “residential component” of the property. The building is zoned so the owner/manager must stay on site, like a bed and breakfast. This was to create a buffer between the residential district and the business district.

Several neighbors are concerned about eliminating the residential quarters at the building.

However, a few business owners spoke at the meeting, stating that Arrive will be a good neighbor.

Arrive made adjustments to how it plans to manage the site and changes to landscaping to address neighbors’ concerns, but those who live nearby said they’re still concerned about the supervision of the property, noise and parking.

They’re also concerned about it disrupting the harmony of the historic district.

Short-term rentals

To accommodate new rules for short-term rentals, council will consider moving $66,412 to the general fund and shifting $27,183 from the transportation engineering budget to dedicate one full-time zoning officer and one full-time permit technician to register and monitor the properties.

To read the short-term rental rules, click here.

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