Developer proposes mixed-use development at site in-need of environmental cleanup
WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - Cape Fear Commercial-affiliate Cape Fear Development has announced an effort to develop a mixed-use project on a 7.4-acre vacant riverfront property.
“Plans for the Proximity at Dram Tree include two 4-story buildings, for a total of 204 residential units, as well as 4,395 square feet of commercial space that will be geared toward residents and visiting patrons. Trails will be installed to further integrate the pedestrian pathways in southern downtown, and a dock along the Cape Fear River will allow the community full access to the water,” states CFD in the announcement dated Nov. 18.
The project will have a custom luxury restaurant with the working title “Molasses,” a reference to the site’s previous use as the American Molasses Terminal. It would include a rooftop bar with a view of the river.
To make it happen, CFD is hoping to rezone the area from light industrial zoning to urban mixed-use zoning. But a proposed development is further complicated by the site’s history: CFD says heavy industrial uses in the 70s and 80s left the ground below contaminated.
CFD writes that they are participating in the state’s Brownfields Program as part of the rezoning. With a brownfields agreement, the developer is required to take certain actions to make the property suitable for the new use, and the NC Department of Environmental Quality agrees to limit the developer’s liability for cleanup to the actions described in the agreement.
“Everybody driving into Wilmington over the bridge sees this property,” said CFD Partner Brian Eckel. “It deserves to be a centerpiece of our southern downtown, not an unimproved vacant lot like it has been.”
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