This week New Hanover County officials will host two public meetings to discuss Project Grace. That’s the redevelopment of a block circled by North Second and Third – and Chestnut and Grace Streets in downtown Wilmington. The current proposal would demolish the existing library to build a new one.
New Hanover County owns the entire block. One company, Zimmer Development, submitted a proposal which is being considered.
The plan includes a new library, apartment and condos, the relocated Cape Fear Museum, and retail shops and restaurants. Only the existing parking deck would remain untouched.
Gareth Evans is on the North Carolina Museum of History Board, and runs the Bellamy Mansion in Wilmington. He wonders why the existing library needs to be bulldozed.
“I would really like to see an adaptive reuse of that library to maximize the potential of the building we have in the library. The original Belk. It already was an adaptive reuse to turn it from the Belk into a library. So I think it should be adaptively reused if they want to do something else and make the library, even better than it is now. It's works perfectly well this minute as a library of 102,000 square feet.”
Chris Coudriet is New Hanover County Manager. He says the project starts with the library.
“Phase one is the construction of the library and museum on the Grace Street side to include about 125 units of residential development. Phase two would be the next round of residential development.”
Coudriet says funding of the project is not yet defined. He says the earliest that County Commissioners will vote on Project Grace is April. Vince Winkel, WHQR News.
New Hanover County Project Grace Page
Project Grace Artist Renderings
New Hanover County will host two public meetings to share information about Project Grace and proposal that was submitted by Zimmer Development and its team. The meetings will be held 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Tuesday (Feb. 19) at the Cape Fear Museum in the Williston Auditorium and 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Thursday (Feb. 21) in the Hanover Room at the main branch of the New Hanover County Public Library in downtown Wilmington.