Wilmington Housing Authority to move forward with plans to redevelop neighborhoods

Hillcrest will be the first community to undergo the process
Wilmington Housing Authority to move forward with plans to redevelop neighborhoods
Published: Jan. 23, 2023 at 10:24 PM EST
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WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - One of Wilmington’s oldest public housing communities will soon get a new look as the Wilmington Housing Authority moves forward with plans to redevelop its properties.

“I’m glad they’re doing it after 80 years,” said Carlton Hines, who has lived in the Hillcrest neighborhood his entire life. “Instead of patching stuff up, fix stuff the right way.”

In the decades he and his mother have lived there, Hines says things have gone downhill at Hillcrest. He says he’s seen several families deal with mold and other issues.

“That’s why you got a lot of people that don’t want to live in these low-income [homes], because the damage of the houses, how bad the mold is,” said Hines. “They just run in there and patch stuff up instead of breaking stuff down.”

Putting an end to patchwork is an idea Wilmington Housing Authority director Tyrone Garrett can get behind. He says it’s high time for the 80-year-old property to get a new look.

“We’re actually talking about a full demolition of the site,” said Garrett. “I know there have been past talks about a redevelopment project such as this but I think we are at the right time for us to start hitching our wagons to some horses and start to pull.”

Monday was the first of a series of meetings the WHA has planned with the community to discuss what’s coming. At that meeting, leaders introduced Related Urban and TedCo as the development partners working with the agency on the project.

Garrett says it’s just the beginning of a series of redevelopments in WHA’s future. The director says he was tasked with revamping all of the authority’s properties when he first accepted the job last spring.

“We’re going to attempt to do a full rehabilitation at Solomon Towers, our senior building. Then, we’re going to also start looking at Houston Moore as a possible opportunity for redevelopment and new construction,” said Garrett.

Many of the details have yet to be worked out. Garrett says they hope to build the new units on-site while the existing units remain in place. This way, residents can move from their old unit to the new one without concerns about being displaced in the process. If WHA determines this to be a viable option, the old units will be demolished after residents have moved into their new homes.

Hillcrest has 256 units with about 200 residents who are entitled to return to the property if they’re displaced in the redevelopment process. The new development will have at least as many units as the current neighborhood. Garrett says leaders are also considering options to increase the density of the neighborhood.

A start date has yet to be announced as leaders are still working out what can be done with the property.

Those who missed Monday’s meeting can have their questions answered at future town hall meetings or during a one-on-one meeting with the WHA director. More community meetings focusing solely on the redevelopment plans are also in the works.