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WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — A community once rich with history is now struggling to figure out its future.

One group says it wants the Seabreeze community near Snow’s Cut to move forward with new homes. The other says back off and leave Seabreeze the way it is.

In it’s heyday, the small waterfront property was alive with community and culture. During segregation, black families from across the country made their way to Wilmington to visit Seabreeze.

“All theses places, there were 25 to 30 buildings here,” said William Freeman, who owns property next to Seabreeze.

The businesses and beaches are no longer a draw for the area, but some folks say they want seabreeze to stay the way that it is.

“There are plenty of places around here to build houses,” Freeman said. “Just let us have this. This is Seabreeze. It’s been here for years. At one time, this was the only place black people have to go to the beach. This was the only place we could go.”

Others believe it’s time to move forward.

Some of the property for sale is being considered for new homes. The problem is the property is not zoned residential.

“We’ve come up with a great plan that has zero impact on them,” realtor Jim Spicuzza said. “That means they can build up to their lot line. We’ve taken a setback on our lots to accommodate them, which is the right thing to do.”

Now, it’s up to the county to decide if the property will be rezoned. The decision, though, is at a standstill with the preservation of history and pushing for progress hanging in the balance.

This issue will come up again with the County Commission at its August 6 meeting.

Comment on this Story

  • resident

    Mr. Congleton, You have owned your land for many years and I do not see you investing in a business there. If it is such a viable option then you should have already taken advantage of the “opportunity”. Maybe it is not our county leaders that are making an UN-informed recommendation.
    There were many Seabreeze land owners at the planning commission meeting in favor of the proposal and hoping to see something positive happen to the community.

  • Thomas Congleton

    Which is likely to produce more long term jobs & provide more access to the coastal area?
    If waterfront homes are so much better than commercial lets get started at Airlie Road and replace the commercial productive waterfront with private homes.
    Also, a casual drive around the commercial area of seabreeze will show that this area has waterfront homesites & lots with a community pier that remain unsold for the past several years.
    Why are our county leaders suggesting such an un-informed recommendation?

  • Regina

    Vicki, I am working very hard to get a jazz and blues club opened in LaVan’s old building. The lot next to LaVans is now owned by the same owner, giving me more space to expand the building. I will be meeting with the building owner next week along with a designer to start rebuilding the inside. With that being said I hope to make your dream come true real soon.

  • Vickie

    I would like to see a Blues Venue brought back to Seabreeze. It is my understanding that BB King played there at one time. Wilmington could use a good Blue spot. I think it would be great. Support the blues!

  • Elise Muhammad

    Rezoning for residential will make it so that the public is unable to access seabreeze waterfront. The historical fact that this was the only place Blacks could come to the beach, is enough reason to preserve that access today. There are so many commercial opportunities that could bring life to the area, and still preserve the history that is recorded in the experiences and minds of thousands of people throughout the United States. What we have here is a major and extremely unique opportunity to promote more heritage and tourism in New Hanover County. Like Mr. Freeman said, there are so many place to build homes, but there is no other place to promote the heritage and tourism that a site like Seabreeze affords to the county, the city and the state.


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