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WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — John Hinnant is stepping down as the head of Wilmington Downtown Inc.

WDI’s Board of Directors announced today Hinnant has resigned as President/CEO to take a job in commercial real estate in Wilmington. Hinnant will stay on through the summer to help close some economic development deals, as well as the Downtown Sundown Concert Series, the WDI board said in a statement.

“Mr. Hinnant has provided extraordinary leadership and vision to WDI and downtown Wilmington,” the board said. “Through his guidance and forward thinking Downtown Wilmington has seen continued economic development, enhanced infrastructure and other important improvements.”

Comment on this Story

  • Vog46

    For the city to end it’s support of WDI.
    I feel that WDI has failed in its efforts to revitalize down town. It was PR campaign with no appreciable affect on the area.
    So long John Hinnant….


  • Downtown Worker

    Oh, shut up.

    Having worked downtown for the last 7 years I can tell you first hand that the quality of restaurants and the increase of retail stores has dramatically changed the landscape. WDI plays an important part in festivals, concerts and special events, not to mention the outreach to bring new businesses downtown.

  • Vog46

    Increase in retail stores?
    You must be talking about the NEW down town – Mayfaire.
    Outreach to bring new businesses?
    Ice cream shops?
    Dramatically changed the landscape?

    Ah, no


  • Rick Wilson

    Could you please list any new business they were directly responsible for bringing, especially any new business that would not have happened without WDI? Also could you name any festival, concert, or special event that will not continue even if WDI ceases to exist. Please add the total cost of WDI to date (salaries, office space rent, utilities, credit cards, etc.) and then present an itemized list of what they have furnished this community for tax dollars spent. If WDI was responsible in any way for the Convention Center, you can add that red herring to what they have cost the community………. WDI also was a big supporter of Mandalay and bringing minor league baseball to Wilmington @ tax payer expense. Mandalay is now trying to sell all of it’s assets. This means there is a great chance if they had been successful in that quest that Wilmington would be the proud owner of a brand new “Empty” 54 million dollar tax payer funded stadium………
    IF WDI is so great, let’s see if the private sector wants to volunteer to fund them 100%, and give the tax payer a break for a change. It is way past time for this entire country to rid itself of leeches that do nothing but spend tax dollars on themselves without providing any tangible proof of ANY direct or indirect benefit to the tax payers.

  • Wilmington Observer

    I’m tired of paying (with my tax dollars) for a, PR campaign for the “downtown businesses” that I choose not to frequent. If those businesses want to fund a campaign to promote that part of town then they (and their employees) can afford to tell everyone to “shut up”. But to accept my tax dollars, brag about how they are “changing the landscape” and then tell the taxpayers to “shut up” is one of the reasons that I will spend my money elsewhere.

    Wilmington Observer

  • Vog46

    WDI gets some funding from the city and some from down town businesses.
    I would like to see WDI’s books thrown wide open for all to see as well.
    That would give the people that support WDI the ability to see what they get for their money…..
    But that we won’t ever be able to get from them I bet…….


  • John, thanks for recognizing that we have a great spot here on the Lower Cape Fear and for promoting that fact to the world.

  • Guest 4253

    “Promoting that fact to the world”? Are you kidding me?

    I guess if you keep repeating the same old bull crap over and over again, you start to actually believe what you’re saying is true.

    “Promoting that fact to the world” …… How ridiculous!

  • RSimmons

    John is a good guy and worked his butt off to promote downtown, but it has been a one man effort on WDI’s part. The businesses give little to no support to the effort. Why didn’t the downtown merchants step forward to fund the 4th of July Fireworks when they are the primary beneficiaries of the event?. Now they complain that business is down this year and blame it on everything except themselves and the shoddy appearance a lot of these businesses have. I guess they think the taxpayers should provide them with paint and cleaning supplies too!

  • MikeOneWilmington


    News yesterday said business is down. Something like 50 shots fired in June alone just a few streets away from downtown. Businesses closing everyday and not being replaced by other businesses. What has been their contribution and how has it paid for the expenses necessary to keep WDI afloat?

    Thank you.

  • taxpayer

    doesn’t give him a credit card.

  • Guest-o-matic

    You’re really going to make Scott Pickey cry and moan with that one!

  • Guest 10101

    “”Mr. Hinnant has provided extraordinary leadership and vision to WDI and downtown Wilmington,” the board said.”

    Not entirely sure WDI’s Board of Directors has a very clear vision of what actually is and isn’t helpful.

    For all the good they’ve done, now might be a good time for all of them to pack it in.


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