WILMINGTON, NC – Swain & Associates, a Wilmington, NC based development firm, announced plans today for the development of CenterPoint, a $250 million, 1 million square foot mixed-use development at 1531 and 1541 Eastwood Road in Wilmington. The retail, hospitality, office and residential center will be located on 23 acres with street frontage on both Military Cutoff and Eastwood Roads, adjacent to the Eastport neighborhood to the east and Cambridge Bay Retirement Community to the west.
“This tract of land is the best piece of undeveloped property in New Hanover County,” said David Swain, owner of Swain & Associates. “We named it CenterPoint because we believe it will be a new center of activity in our region and will exemplify the type of mixed-use development that the City of Wilmington is working to attract to our community – ones that feature the right mix of compatible uses, are compact, pedestrian and bike friendly, accessible to transit, and well connected to adjacent neighborhoods and roadways.”
Swain & Associates has contracted to purchase the property from the Wetherill family of Wilmington. The property has been in the family for decades, and two of five siblings live in homes on the property. “We’ve had this property in our family for quite some time and have had numerous offers over the years,” said Richard Wetherill, a Wilmington resident and retired ____. “But we’ve been waiting for just the right project and just the right developer. When David shared his vision with us, it became an easy decision. CenterPoint is an innovative concept and we like the fact that Swain & Associates is a local firm with a great track record. David lives and works across the street from our property and he and his team will make sure that CenterPoint is something our family and the entire community will be proud of for years to come.”
One of the hallmarks of CenterPoint’s design is its proximity to the potential extension of Drysdale Drive, a new, four-lane road with median that is one of two designs being considered by NC Department of Transportation (NCDOT) to alleviate the traffic and congestion at the existing Military and Eastwood intersection. The Drysdale Drive extension will connect Military Cutoff and Eastwood Roads and is an alternative to an elevated highway over the intersection, which according to DOT data, would cost considerably more and would take longer to construct.
“In analyzing options for the improvement of Military Cutoff Road, NCDOT recognized that a road through this property would be a smart solution to the traffic and congestion of the Military Cutoff/Eastwood Road intersection,” said Swain. “And with the acquisition of the property, the extension of Drysdale Drive is that much more feasible. It’s considerably less expensive than building an elevated highway and significantly less obtrusive to the many businesses and homes that border the Military/Eastwood intersection. This is a win-win for our community and for CenterPoint.”
On Tuesday, July 25, Swain & Associates submitted a request to the City of Wilmington to rezone the CenterPoint property from R-15 to UMX (CD). The property was last zoned to R-15 when annexed into the City of Wilmington in 1998. In the Create Wilmington Comprehensive Plan adopted in May 2016, the property was specifically identified as a Regional Retail Center and a Multi-Use Place “area of opportunity” suited for a transit-oriented, multi-use development. The goal of the Create Wilmington Comprehensive Plan, as detailed in the plan, is to “focus on growing inward and upward, integrating land uses to reduce traffic congestion and improve housing, working and shopping options.”
“Rezoning this property to UMX (CD) enables us to develop the land more efficiently than its current R-15 status allows,” said Swain. “It also enables us to create the type of mixed-use project called for in the City’s Comprehensive Plan. We look forward to working with the City on this rezoning request and to introducing our plans for CenterPoint to the community.”
Pending all approvals, construction is anticipated to start on CenterPoint in 2019, concurrently with the DOT extension of Drysdale Drive.
Plans for CenterPoint call for a mix of compatible uses in a high-density format with an abundance of open space, central plaza, outdoor dining and extensive landscaping. Key features of CenterPoint will include the following:
- 1 million square feet of space on 23 acres
- Flagship, 7-story, full-service hotel with 200 beds
- 300 one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments located above retail space
- 50 to 60 retail shops and restaurants that combine national chains and local boutiques
- 75,000 square foot medical services building
- 31,600 square feet of first class office space
- Multi-level, structured parking for 1,450 cars
- Surface parking for 275 cars
- One of the most unique aspects of CenterPoint is a stream that meanders through the entire property. “What started as a challenge ended up being one of the best features of the development,” said John Larsen, president of CI Design, Inc., a Baltimore architectural firm and designer of CenterPoint. “The stream bisects the property and by placing bike paths and walking paths along it, it became the thread that connects all aspects of the property. We’re featuring entertainment spaces and outdoor dining on either side of the stream, making it a center of activity for the development. The plans call for a number of pedestrian bridges and one vehicular bridge, in addition to numerous fountains. The stream is truly unique and is my favorite part of the project.”
To further enhance the pedestrian and bike-friendly nature of CenterPoint, plans call for the extension of the Gary Shell Cross City Trail for the full length of the frontage on Eastwood Road, and if approved, along the existing stream that bisects the property. With the extension of the Cross-City Trail, people from nearby neighborhoods, office buildings and Wrightsville Beach can easily access CenterPoint either on foot or by bicycle.
ACCESSIBILITY AND TRAFFIC
With CenterPoint conveniently located near the intersection of Military Cutoff and Eastwood Roads, vehicle trips will be dispersed to at least two principal roadways. In addition, there are six points of ingress and egress into and out of the development on Eastwood Road, Military Cutoff Road, an extension of Calypso Drive and a new connector road to Mayfaire Town Center. This interconnectivity will allow the residents of Mayfaire and adjacent neighborhoods to access the property without contributing to the traffic on Military Cutoff and Eastwood roads.
“Access and connectivity are critically important to the success of any mixed-use development,” said Swain. “Our intent with CenterPoint is to create a walkable environment that is easily accessible by foot, bike, transit or car. Reducing traffic and improving accessibility is a top priority for us and we anticipate that our traffic impact analysis will confirm that NCDOT’s plans for the extension of Drysdale Drive and our six points of ingress and egress will mitigate the traffic impacts of CenterPoint.”
WAVE Transit’s Northeast (104) bus route services the area and runs from 6 am to 9 pm Monday through Saturday and 9 am to 6 pm on Sunday.
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