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City of Wilmington to purchase former Salvation Army store property

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Grace Vitaglione
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WHQR
Wilmington City Council also approved additional budget items to cover closing and maintenance, as well as any unexpected costs.

Wilmington city council voted unanimously Tuesday to purchase the former Salvation Army property in downtown Wilmington.

The purchase price is $4.8 million, which the city said is market value.

The city also approved an additional budget of $10,000 for any unexpected costs, $7,500 for closing costs, and $27,000 to fund maintenance during the rest of the fiscal year.

The Salvation Army bought the site from the city in 1977 at the market rate at that time, which was roughly $48,000.

Mayor Bill Saffo said the sale had two goals. The first was supporting Salvation Army’s long-term plans to relocate, as they can now move to a better facility off of Martin Luther King Junior Parkway.

"Then the other part of that is the redevelopment of the whole Northern Gateway property between 3rd and Front [Street] and making that a part of that overall arching development going forward," he said.

The “gateway project” is a significant public-private development that was put on hold by the pandemic.

In response to concerns that Salvation Army might leave a gap behind in terms of help for homeless people, Saffo said their new location will allow the organization to better serve the community.

Related: Closing of downtown Wilmington Salvation Army could leave support gap until new facility opens

Grace is a multimedia journalist recently graduated from American University. She's attracted to issues of inequity and her reporting has spanned racial disparities in healthcare, immigration detention and college culture. In the past, she's investigated ICE detainee deaths at the Investigative Reporting Workshop, worked on an award-winning investigative podcast, and produced student-led video stories.