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$31-million contract awarded to repair Wilmington’s federal courthouse, damaged in Hurricane Florence

The Alton Lennon Federal Courthouse in downtown Wilmington.
Benjamin Schachtman
The Alton Lennon Federal Courthouse in downtown Wilmington.

The Alton Lennon Federal Courthouse, built between 1916 and 1919, took a severe beating, suffering wind, rain, and flooding damage during Florence’s protracted landfall in the Wilmington area.

According to the General Services Administration, which oversees U.S. government real estate, over the last 30 months the building has been stabilized to prevent further damage and the court operations have been moved to South 17th street, into the former home of StarNews. It's not clear how much that has cost the federal government; the GSA is currently processing a FOIA request from WHQR to determine the cost of 'stabilizing,' leasing the 1003 S. 17th building, and other expenditures on the courthouse to date.

But, regardless of earlier work, it wasn’t until March 31 of this year that a contract for actual repairs was signed. The $31-million contract was awarded to Alabama-based construction company Brasfield & Gorrie, LLC, following a competitive bid process in December 2020. The work, which includes repairs to the building’s exterior, interior finishes, and mechanical and electrical systems, is funded by the Disaster Recovery Act of 2019.

Officials expect the work to take about three years with "substantial" completion by spring 2024.

Ben Schachtman is a journalist and editor with a focus on local government accountability. He began reporting for Port City Daily in the Wilmington area in 2016 and took over as managing editor there in 2018. He’s a graduate of Rutgers College and later received his MA from NYU and his PhD from SUNY-Stony Brook, both in English Literature. He loves spending time with his wife and playing rock'n'roll very loudly. You can reach him at BSchachtman@whqr.org and find him on Twitter @Ben_Schachtman.