Project Grace planning, financing on agenda for New Hanover County commissioners

NHC commissioners could take next step on Project Grace on Monday

WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - When New Hanover County Commissioners meet at 9:00 a.m. Monday morning, March 15, members could take a step forward in a project that could transform a county-owned block of land in downtown Wilmington called Project Grace.

The block surrounded by Grace, Third, Chestnut and Second streets currently holds the downtown library and the county’s parking deck. A public-private partnership between the county and Zimmer Development Corporation propose building a new modern library, a new home for the Cape Fear Museum, and a mixture of residential, office and retail space.

The agenda for Monday’s meeting calls for commissioners to hold a public hearing on the decision to enter into a Memorandum of Understanding with the developer to map out the plans for the project, the financing and a timeline to move forward. The MOU spells out the county leasing the land to the developer to build the library and museum, then leasing the buildings from the developer for 20 years at a payment of not more than $4.508 million per year.

This agreement is similar to one the county had for redeveloping the Government Center property, which the Local Government Commission frowned on, instead saying the county should finance that project itself saving taxpayers millions.

Ben Schachtman, managing editor of WHQR-FM, maps out the specifics of Project Grace, and how it could be impacted by a similar take from the Local Government Commission. You can read Ben’s extensive story by clicking here.

WECT will update the progress of Project Grace if county commissioners make a decision during Monday’s meeting.

Copyright 2021 WECT. All rights reserved.