Wilmington Residents Don't Find Grace In New Project

Sep 13, 2017

The New Hanover County Commissioners will soon vote on Project Grace, a redevelopment project in downtown Wilmington at the location of the New Hanover County Library and 2nd Street Parking Deck.  The parking deck would stay, but everything else could drastically change.

Libraries are usually quiet. But not on this night.

An overflow crowd is on hand to discuss Project Grace, a possible 15-story hotel and condo development, with apartments, stores, the library, and maybe even a new Cape Fear Museum - all located on the block ringed by Grace, North 2nd, North 3rd and Chestnut streets.

New Hanover County Commissioners, who were all in attendance, are considering four options. Citizens on hand were unanimously opposed.

Susan Silver helped organize Tuesday night’s information meeting, and is not impressed.

“My position on the project as a whole is that it’s too expensive, it hasn’t been done with any regard for citizen preference, input, I think that’s really vital for going forward with such an expensive project that is based on some assumptions that haven’t been proven by any means.”

Costs would range from $88 million to $128 million, depending on the size of the option chosen.

New Hanover County Commissioner Woody White.

“It’s just a win-win for everyone if all of these questions are answered, that’s a personal view that I have, and I think the other commissioners share that.”

The costliest option features a new library and new Cape Fear Museum beneath eight floors of apartments.

Wilmington resident Delthea Simmons is also opposed.

“Our public spaces should be seen, kept in high regard, held in high esteem, and not made the victims of forces of privatization and profit… " 

The county commissioners will meet October 2 to discuss and vote on Project Grace.

- New Hanover County Board of Commissioners Meeting, July 2017 - Project Grace Summary of Redevelopment Scenarios - FORMAL REPORT here.    

There will be two more informal public meetings on Project Grace: Monday, September 18, 6:00 pm, at the New Hanover Public Library in the Hanover Room, and Tuesday, September 19, 6:00 pm, at the Cape Fear museum in the Williston Auditorium.