Residents of Old Wilmington want new plan for parking deck property

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Submitted: Tue, 03/04/2014 - 4:49am
Updated: Tue, 03/04/2014 - 1:55pm

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — The Water Street Parking Deck and the property it sits on have been hot topics around the city for close to a decade. Now the Residents of Old Wilmington are giving their two cents about the property’s future.

“The deck was built in 1965, and it’s in very poor condition right now, and needs a total overhaul and probably removal and redevelopment,” said Ed Wolverton of Wilmington Downtown Inc.

After sinking money into temporary fixes of the Water Street Parking Deck the City of Wilmington is looking for a long term solution.

“When you look at what’s there now, it’s well past its useful life and it’s ready to move on to something else,” said Wolverton.

In November, the Wilmington City Council hired the consulting firm DFI, which recently recommended that the deck be scrapped in favor of a fifteen story mixed-use tower that would sit higher than the Murchison building.

“Frankly, I’m not thrilled with what they came up with,” said Wilmington City Councilman Kevin O’Grady. “My feeling is that we should be striving to get the best property for our public space.”

Residents of Old Wilmington applauded the city for moving to replace the deck, but they asked the city to stick to the recommendations in its vision 2020 plan for the area to be used as green space such as a park.

“Pieces of downtown are coming together,” said Paul Lawler. “Downtown is a lot nicer place to visit than it was a few years ago and the people who lend money are starting to lend money which means projects can be done. It’s just important to do the right project and not the first one that comes along.”

“We’re trying to keep true to redeveloping that site so that the city can recover the money they have invested in it so that we can build the tax base in the center of the city,” said O’Grady. “We not only haven’t agreed on the project, but we haven’t even seen the financial part. Until we see that we’re not going to be ready to make a decision.”

The city will hold a public meeting March 12 inside the council chambers to get citizen input on what should be done with the property.


  • Vog46 says:

    Raleigh has more “sprawl” to it than down town Wilmington does and we just bought land for a riverfront park.

    Having two parks in close proximity of each other is a waste of valuable (read VERY taxable) real estate.
    Land is limited in New Hanover county – and is even more limited in downtown (that’s in “New Hangover” county) so we must utilize it to our advantage. Here we have to admit that “visiting” down town is not as popular as visiting the beaches.
    I’m all for greenspace – but 6 acres on the river is enough.


  • SurfCityTom says:

    I thought that was the mission of WDI and its recently departed, over paid Exec Director with the corporate credit card.

    Perhaps I was wrong; perhaps the real mission was promotion of that baseball edifice proposed for the river front.

    And perhaps that explains why he took a career change.

  • Hanson says:

    My wife and I strolled around downtown last Saturday, and we both lamented the lack of retail variety. There are a few nice shops downtown, but they are sandwiched between far too many bars.

    The bars’ windows are dirty, full of fliers, and the far too numerous bars and tattoo parlors give off a whiff of squalor.

    City leaders have not exerted enough effort to make downtown Wilmington a shopping mecca. Instead, they let bars take over, and downtown, unfortunately, has a reputation of excessive alcohol abuse and sporadic violence. A pity because many of the grungy bars are housed in architectural gems.

  • craig says:

    I live down town and love it. We desperately need a grocery store. I know I know there are not enough almighty dollars for anyone to do it but we really need a place to buy food. Not a super market but a locally owned and operated grocery store. I know don’t hold my breath right? Oh well it is a simple request from some one that lives and loves down town.

  • Guest-o-matic says:

    …Mayberry, not downtown Wilmington They’ll have just what your looking for! Ol’ Goob’ll be at the fillin’ station fillin’ up Barns police care while Aunt Bee whoops up the conebread, green beans and poke chops.

  • downtown fan says:

    How many times will the city hire consultant to see the obvious? This same issue has been consulted upon more than once. Tear it down before someone dies. Build a mix use building with residential and business use. Look to bring small companies downtown. I see a city like Durham completely reinvigorated with small startups and companies based there. Wilmington City Council really has missed the mark. Too many of them are only concerned with lining their own pockets andnot properly developing and focusing on real growth for downtown.

  • Angie Sorensen says:

    They should start a root top garden project on these parking garages!!!

  • 1492 says:

    And when it all collapses, it’ll be real easy to work on at street level.

  • SurfCityTom says:

    perhaps they should raise funds; purchase the property from the City; and then do with it as they please.

    The city has an obligation, assuming they understand the concept, to put the property to use with the best return on investment for all of the city property owners and taxpayers.

  • Lonnie says:

    That parking deck is loaded every weekday and Summer weekend. Where do those people park? Keep in mind that not everyone comes to work carrying only a laptop and pen, and walking from a distant parking deck carrying multiple heavy items is not an option.

  • taxpayer says:

    “Frankly, I’m not thrilled with what they came up with,” said Wilmington City Councilman Kevin O’Grady. “My feeling is that we should be striving to get the best property for our public space.”

    If you truly feel that way, which I’m doubting you do, then why did you vote to sell property for the hotel far below appraised value?

  • weliveheretoo says:

    Glad Residents of Old Wilmington have spoken (ahead of the public meeting where is would have been appropriate for ALL to speak). ROW often forgets there is a big ole city out there and many of us are not in the little district they live in BUT still have a huge vested interest in our city. the 20/20 was done at a time when there could not have been a truly understood picture of the scope of the use of that property. We have a six acre park now on the water downtown. Give us a mixed use development on that property and return the money that the city is owed on the parking fees it should have collected. Make this a viable space for really utilizing downtown. Make it something vibrant. the per square foot tax value on that property if made mixed use could not be duplicated anywhere..and ALL Of us can benefit from that. Let a building rise up there and be spectacular! But, ROW needs to know that from Pine valley to College acres to everywhere in between..this is OUR city and it is OUR decision…period.

  • Vog46 says:

    While I applaud “green space” we already have green space we have to consider that green space does not generate tax revenue – which is what this council wants more than anything. A 15 story mixed use building is OK but we then have to worry about parking etc.
    But at this point we need to do SOMETHING. WE built it, maintained it, sold it, bought it back at a much higher price, put MORE money into it, then spent money and hired consultants to make recommendations we don’t like Councilman O’Grady?
    Perhaps this would be the best place to put the public gallows at where we hang wasteful spending politicians…..


  • Spendit says:

    Good point Vog. Without Annexation there is no new revenue coming into the city. There will not be unless we build up or raise property taxes.

  • JLo says:

    I respectfully disagree, Raleigh has invested millions into their green spaces, it has spurred development, increased value surrounding those areas and continued to keep it on the top of the most desirable places to live lists. Which n turn, raises value which raises the tax base….

  • wilm city here says:

    who cares best to do is stay away from downtown. u get killed. raped rob.

  • Guest-o-matic says:

    …by simply stopping wasteful and impulsive spending! That’s the biggest problem our city council members have NEVER been able to overcome!

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