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Two Rezoning Applications Underway For Riverfront Projects in Wilmington

June 8, 2022

Site Plan For The Proximity At Dram Tree Point

Cape Fear Development, an affiliate of Cape Fear Commercial, is pleased to announce the details of two forthcoming rezoning applications that will be submitted to the City of Wilmington for review. 

After careful preparation and design, Cape Fear Development is applying to rezone 7.4 acres of former industrial land directly south of the Cape Fear Memorial Bridge; and also a portion of a separate 40.4-acre site on River Road, currently occupied by a marine business, at the end of Independence Boulevard. The proposed applications request that the sites be rezoned to the Urban Mixed Use and MD-10 zoning Districts, respectively, with the goal of establishing upscale waterfront community centers — that offer apartment units available for rent — featuring abundant green space, multi-use trails, and an integrated riverfront. 

Both sites are located on the Cape Fear riverfront, and have previously been built upon. Considering their current condition, these parcels are ideally positioned for environmentally-responsible infill developments that celebrate Wilmington’s history and deep-rooted connection to the Cape Fear River.

The 7.4-acre site next to the Memorial Bridge is currently zoned for light industrial uses that are no longer appropriate for the vibrant and evolving southern core of downtown Wilmington. Following the exit of industry, the land has remained vacant for many years, with concrete remnants that have fallen into disrepair. This proposal — The Proximity at Dram Tree Point — comprises a 5-story structure that will include ±300 multi-family units and ±5,000-square-feet of retail space. 

Project costs for The Proximity at Dram Tree Point will include significant traffic and landscaping improvements at the base of Dawson Street and along Surry Street — linking together local neighborhoods and commercial hubs under the backdrop of the Cape Fear River. Mature trees will be transplanted to the vacant site, providing shade over the Bike & Pedestrian trails that will wind down to the riverbanks and throughout southern downtown.

“The Proximity at Dram Tree Point is planned to be a gateway into Wilmington that every local can be proud of,” said Cape Fear Development Partner Mike Brown. “These projects will bring major improvements like increased walkability to their pockets of the city.”

Site Plan For The Proximity At Watermark

Further south, at the end of Independence Boulevard, Cape Fear Development has proposed The Proximity at Watermark, which will include two 4-story structures totaling ± 248 multi-family units. Rather than encroaching onto undeveloped wetlands near the riverbank, the design has utilized the site’s current concrete footprint to minimize environmental impacts.

Amenities like a pool and boat dock are also planned onsite. The design of these two Proximity projects is being led by local architectural firm LS3P. In preparation for this proposal, a Brownfield Agreement has been set in place to guide the development of the Dram Tree site.

Cape Fear Development — an affiliate of Cape Fear Commercial, one of the area’s leading real estate firms — is representing the property owners in their rezoning applications. These applications follow the prior approval of two other successful projects, at Carolina Beach and New Bern, within the Proximity brand.

“We believe an infill development with a design that honors the history of the riverfront is the best use of these sites, rather than seeing them left as another vacant lot, or occupied by an industrial facility,” said Cape Fear Commercial Co-Founder and Cape Fear Development Partner Brian Eckel

If the two applications are approved, the ensuing projects will be managed and financed entirely at the local level by Cape Fear Development, which will oversee all aspects of permitting and construction. The firm’s new construction affiliate, Cape Fear Construction, can direct the build-out entirely in-house, ensuring accountability for every detail of this project from the start of design through construction.

“We’re going to do this right, and hold everyone involved to the highest possible standard,” Eckel said.

Read more about the two proposed Proximity projects in the Wilmington Business Journal, WECT, and the StarNews.

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