Downtown Wilmington Needs 7,000 More Residents to Lure Major Grocery Store

Aug 13, 2014

Downtown Wilmington is sprouting new hotels, a marina – and a bevy of new housing options. 

But one of the missing pieces for some residents is that most basic of needs – a grocery store. 

Large grocery store chains have a clearly-defined business model that dictates whether they’ll locate in a particular neighborhood.   Some of the key benchmarks, according to Ed Wolverton, President and CEO of Wilmington Downtown, Inc., include the number of residents living within a five- to ten-mile drive of the site, the average household income, and how much of that is disposable income.   

"And one of the challenges we face in downtown Wilmington is that – they typically draw these circles:  a 5-mile circle or a 3-mile circle to help define what those numbers are.  And when you look at our circle, when you start running that number, we, of course, run into river and marshland to the east.  So we don’t necessarily have the demographics that some of these businesses look for – because a part of our population is diffused."

Downtown Wilmington would have to increase by about 7,000 residents to appeal to a major grocery store, says Wolverton.  But boosting that population is already part of the district’s economic growth strategy.  Wolverton estimates that about 600 housing units – mostly apartments -- are either announced or under construction. 


This was part of the most recent discussion on CoastLine – which airs Wednesdays at 2 PM. 

Tune in next Wednesday for Ending Chronic Homelessness:  Six Years into the Ten-Year Plan, how are we doing?  That’s Wednesday, August 20th at 2 PM here on 91.3 WHQR.