WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — Monkey Junction has long been a hub of business in our area. It’s part of why the City of Wilmington wants to annex it. Several new businesses are setting up shop there, but others that have called the crossroads home for years say it’s a dead end.
Because of the high traffic in Monkey Junction, the area is stuffed with restaurants, and there’s soon to be more food on the table. But business owners have differing opinions about how annexation will affect the area’s growth.
“Things like that, I think, are inevitable,” Chops Deli co-owner Chris Graham said of annexation. “You’re just going to have to get on the swing and swing away. I don’t think that it’s going to affect us to any great degree.”
Chops Deli’s downtown location opened in December 2009, and now the sandwich shop is starting up in Monkey Junction. While Chops looks to get its cut in the area, the owner of another restaurant in Monkey Junction says he’s worried annexation could take a piece of the pie.
“Being part of the city, there’s no benefit to it,” Giorgio’s owner Georgios Lazaridis. “A lot of people say we’re getting benefits from the city that we need to start paying for, but most of the growth is done on the other side of town where Military Cutoff has grown so much, and there is literally nothing that is built on this side of town.”
Lazaridis thinks the only growth the junction is seeing is in the form of food. He says the city puts emphasis on opening retail shops downtown, but thinks Monkey Junction needs more stores and fewer restaurants.
Graham sees the growth in a different light. He says Monkey Junction is booming in its own way.
“There is a Mayfaire, and there is a Monkey Junction. Then there’s a downtown, and there’s Wrightsville Beach. There’s Porter’s Neck. We’re very lucky to live where we live where we have so many different entities of a small town,” Graham said.
Lazaridis believes the city should do more to bring attractions to the Junction if annexation is going to happen, but city leaders say there’s not really room to build.
Carmike Cinemas announced last month it will open a new movie theater in Monkey Junction next year.
According to the city’s website, businesses and residents in the annexed area will begin paying city taxes in January. In the meantime, residents have until November to petition for an appeal of the annexation thanks to a new state law.