Two riverfront projects underway, including hotel and marina

WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) – Construction began Wednesday on two new development projects on the Wilmington Riverfront.

One of the projects is a new Hotel Indigo, which WECT first reported about Tuesday.

The other project is a marina that will include 204 boat slips, averaging 50 feet in size and ranging from 30 feet to 80 feet. Both projects are located near the Convention Center on Brunswick and Front Streets.

Schoninger showed WECT.com his plans for the development in his downtown office Wednesday.

"We're thrilled that our vision for the riverfront is moving forward," said Chuck Schoninger, the hotel and marina developer. "There's a lot of optimism for downtown Wilmington with the new construction and recent announcement of a baseball stadium initiative. We're really happy to be a part of the overall future plan for the city."

Schoninger added that he thinks the marina would attract visitors from other states.

"This is really a destination marina," said Schoninger. "You'd have people coming here from 600 miles north, Cape Cod, New York and 600 miles south...this would make Wilmington one of the stops along the east coast."

Schoninger also owns the adjacent property – one of the sites that the city of Wilmington and Mandalay Baseball is considering for a baseball stadium.

Schoninger said he is excited about the city entering into formal discussions about bringing baseball to the Port City. He maintains downtown is the best location for the ballpark.

"We'd be really excited," said Schoninger. "One of the things my mom taught me in real estate [is] that the three most important things are location, location, location. And this is one of the premier locations for a venue like that."

In the meantime, Schoninger is continuing work on the rest of the property surrounding PPD.

He said Wilmington's Hotel Indigo will be a 9-story boutique-style accommodation with approximately 135 guest rooms. Amenities at the full-service hotel include a restaurant, rooftop bar/restaurant, room service, exercise facility, pool, concierge, onsite parking and riverfront and downtown views.

Developers of Hotel Indigo met with Wilmington's Technical Review Committee Thursday morning. Nothing was officially submitted, but committee members provided developers with informal suggestions on how to confirm the hotel to city planning requirements.

Principal Architect Thomas Calloway said he was happy with the positive reception he received from the TRC. Calloway said it's nice to have a group that's willing to work with the development team, not against it.

Calloway worked on the Hotel Indigo located in Asheville, NC. He says each hotel has its own style unique to the city.

Chestnut Street Hospitality, LLC, a North Carolina corporation, is the management company for the hotel.

In a press release, Dennis Pearson, President of Chestnut Street Hospitality, said, "Hotel Indigo is known for its fresh design, inspiring service and endless ability to intrigue guests with its distinctively local personality. Unlike other large accommodations, Hotel Indigo isn't a prototype hotel. The brand presents a unique guest experience in each location; one that is locally inspired. The Wilmington Hotel Indigo is being designed to reflect the Wilmington community and appeal to guests who want to come here for a local experience – right down to the building's external and internal appearance, the staff's knowledge of the area and the fresh, North Carolina food we'll be serving."

According to Schoninger, both projects are fully funded. The projects are expected to bring approximately 150 full and part-time jobs to the downtown area.

Wilmington's Hotel Indigo is expected to open in 2014; the marina will open in the spring of 2013.

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