WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) - The tagline for one of the largest projects currently in the works in the Port City is "It's All on The Avenue," according to planning documents. But on Tuesday, it will be all on Wilmington City Council to decide whether or not the controversial development will proceed.
The Avenue, an upscale mixed-use development proposed for 44.5 acres of land off Military Cutoff Road, has faced backlash since it was first proposed in 2017.
The developer's initial proposal was withdrawn from a 2017 city Planning Commission meeting due to intense traffic concerns. But those traffic concerns remain even with the revised plan – resubmitted earlier this year – which includes 525 apartments, a 231-room hotel, more than 140,000 square feet of office space, 115,000 square feet of boutique retail space, and 16,000 square feet of restaurant space.
More than 100 community members attended a public meeting held by the developer in late April to voice their concerns over the project. But even with assurances from the developer that the anticipated increase in traffic would not be as bad as expected, area residents left the meeting feeling no better about the project.
One week later, city planners approved the developer's two requests needed to move forward with the project, albeit following hours of debate and split votes.
Those requests – that the land be rezoned from a mobile home park district to an urban mixed-use development and a special use permit to increase the building height from 55 feet to 75 feet – are expected to be considered by city council during its meeting on Tuesday.
City staff has recommended approval of both requests, according to documents.