City leaders hoping to move forward with the Gateway Project in Downtown Wilmington

City leaders hoping to move forward with the Gateway Project in Downtown Wilmington
Published: Feb. 3, 2023 at 6:25 PM EST
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WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - The City of Wilmington purchased land on the north end of downtown back in 2021 for the Gateway Project.

“In the early 2000s, the entire northern downtown was industrial and MLK Parkway didn’t exist. So since then, that is the primary route for people to enter downtown. And the entire riverfront has basically been redeveloped in now, there’s this still important strategic area that the city is working to see develop in a positive way for downtown,” Dylan Lee with the City of Wilmington said.

The Gateway Project has been in the works for a few years now.

Lee said the process for this project is similar to what the city went through with River Place.

“We are working diligently with a private development partner, East West, to ultimately redevelop those properties in a way that is of the highest and best use of this really strategic important gateway into downtown,” Lee said.

There are no plans yet for what exactly will go in this area, but Mayor Bill Saffo previously said affordable housing is needed in our area, along with a grocery store on the north side of Wilmington.

“The work that we’re now hoping to accomplish with East West would continue a commitment towards making sure that northern downtown develops in the highest best use possible.”

The memorandum of understanding will go in front of the city council within the next month and from there, leaders expect to start seeing development plans.

Lee added that this project is a public-private partnership meaning that as much as the land is valued at, there has to be that amount in public value. Some examples of what could go in there would be affordable housing, open space, infrastructure or office space. Lee said they are not committing to any of those, but they are options.