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ABC files for demolition permits

READ MORE: ABC files for demolition permits
The Alcohol and Beverage Commission plans to demolish more than a dozen homes in an area that could soon become a historic residential district off of 17th and 18th Streets. The City of Wilmington gave ABC demolition permits to knock down the houses that stand in the way of a new warehouse and parking lot. But, before they can actually build anything, ABC must get the city council's permission. Councilman Ron Sparks said, "Our only input is when they bring a plan to us, for us to review. No plan has ever been submitted prior to them making the acquisition of these homes." Neighbors of the area are concerned that the business construction will lower the value of their homes. Despite the opposition, the ABC board says it will continue to follow through with its plans to demolish the homes.

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ABC Warehouse in Residental Area

Why would they put a business like that in a residental area? Pine Valley, Landfall or Georgetowne residents would allow it in their area.

It's already there!

They are simply seeking to expand. It's an ideal location to service the establishments that serve alcohol in New Hanover County.

Planned ABC Warehouse Expansion

To the first person to reply... PLEASE DON'T TAKE THIS PERSONAL. It seems that most people don't really have an idea of what has happened in this case. You see, they are not seeking to simply expand... THEY ARE SEEKING / HAVE ALREADY PLANNED TO *D*E*S*T*R*O*Y* over 10 homes built in the early part of the last century in the historic part of Wilmington. These are homes that are affordable and well built and serve as to the history of Wilmington. Numerous homes have been purchased, refurbished / restored during the past few years in this area and it is a VERY desireable are of town to live in - with a wonderful sense of "neighborhood". Have you seen the plans? What a joke!!! Our neighborhood is vehemently fighting this expansion / demolition. Not only are they going to demolish these houses, they are taking away large trees that were not even in the way of their planned expansion! They will create an eyesore on one of the most viewed intersections of the city. But then again... it's not like Wilmington has the most picturesque skylines to begin with! Also, it's not THAT they're doing this, but it has a LOT to do with HOW they did this. There seems to be a lot of "underhandedness" and "sneaky" deals going down to make this happen. It's all "legal", however, it's not the most ethical or moral way of doing things. Keep in mind that this is a State sanctioned organization and without planning submissions, town hall meetings or other such public disclosure, they're going to destroy something that didn't need to be destroyed. I wonder how this would have been received at Wrighstville Beach or near Landfall. I highly doubt it would have made it this far. As far as being and "ideal location to service the establishments that serve alcohol in New Hanover County"... what makes it SO ideal? What makes it MORE ideal than some other area of town that is INDUSTRIAL and/or COMMERCIAL already? Is it really IDEAL to have tractor-trailers motoring through a RESIDENTIAL area? Is it really IDEAL to tear down homes that FAMILIES lived in? Is it really ideal to create an eyesore in an area of town that strives to look nice and be a great place to raise a family? Is it really ideal to cut down trees that have been there for God knows how long just to put in a parking lot? So, as you can see, there's nothing "simple" about this. Keep your eyes and ears open. You'll be hearing from our group of concerned citizens a LOT in the future! STOP THE ABC WAREHOUSE EXPANSION AT 17TH STREET AND CASTLE STREET!

The thing im getting out of

The thing im getting out of this is the underhandedness of the ABC company. Question? does the city not do the same thing when it comes to annexation. We aren't given a reason or a choice. At least these people were given a choice to sell.

Too bad the video tells another story

Come on! Who are you kidding? The video speaks for itself. The houses are a total wreck and the warehouse will create far less of an eyesore than what is out there right now. The way you describe this part of town, you'd think it WAS Landfall or Wrightsville Beach. Stop kidding yourself. We all know that area, and it will be much better served with a warehouse in place of what is out there right now. Old doesn't immediately translate into "historic." Sometimes, it just means neglected and dilapidated. Sure, there are some very proud people who maintain some very nice homes down there. But for every well-maintained home, there is a dump that looks like it's ready to fall down. As far as tractor trailers in a residential area, Wooster and Seventeenth are hardly residential only, and the tractor trailers have been delivering to the existing facility for years. This location IS ideal to service the downtown bars and restaurants....and to put it quite bluntly, land is far too expensive out near Landfall or on Wrightsville Beach.

Look past the chipped paint

That's about what our house looked like before it was restored. Go check out the pink house on the market now on Wrightsville Avenue. It was a crackhouse a few years ago. I was in that house when it was on the market before its renovation and it was atrocious. To an untrained eye it looked like there was nothing you could possibly do to polish that thing up, but just go look at it now. I think you'd be surprised to find that many of these homes that look like they are about to fall down are actually quite sturdy and beautiful when they are given some attention. We moved to Ardmore because of these beautiful historic homes. It is a great place for families, we've made many friends here, it has an unparalelled sense of community. Homes are being revived and while the area is still largely in transition, it is actively transitioning. Give us a chance, that's what we're asking for. Don't tear down affordable homes with so much potential. I am concerned about my property value decreasing when a commercial warehouse encroaches on this residential community. I am concerned about an influx of semi traffic where my children ride their bikes. But motly I am just sad to see people who care so little for relics of our history, who think that just because it's not a shiny brick mansion in an affluent part of town it is worth less than a slab of cement parking lot.

Too bad you didn't really WATCH the video...

Typical response... you don't know the WHOLE story. See, the homes DO look like that NOW, but they didn't BEFORE they were purchased by the NC ABC. Prior to the purchase from the NCABC, FAMILIES lived in these HOMES and they had TREES surrounding them. It just so happens that, all of a sudden, under the cover of darkness, all of the property owners decided to cut down all of the large trees on their properties... all at once. Hmmm... wonder what made them do that?!? PAY CLOSE ATTENTION from time marker 0:55-on in the video. It says, "The commission had invited people to take anything they could grab from the houses, including the siding. It only RECENTLY put up temporary fencing and "keep out" signs". LISTEN very carefully to the VERY end of the video when the videographer / reporter says, off camera after the story “ends”. He says, "There's a large amount of property here. Any, any comment on, do they really need this much space". VERY interesting. You see, this ENTIRE block is about to be DEMOLISHED for make room for a SMALL 6,000 square foot expansion to the existing building. Of course, with that comes the requisite number of parking spaces, etc.. It’s only 6,000 square feet... not a facility planned on taking up an ENTIRE CITY BLOCK! Have you seen the plans? If you have, I can’t understand any reaction other than “shock” at the proposed facility and surrounding PARKING LOT! There aren’t going to be any more employees working there... why would they need 78 (yes, SEVENTY-EIGHT) parking spaces?!?!?!?!?!?!? And they’re planning to replace all the trees that the “previous owners” cut down (yeah, on their own accord, I’m sure!) with 13 trees that look like a “new home landscape starter kit” from Home Depot. If you haven’t seen the plans, send me a message and I’ll gladly forward a copy to you. Prepare to get the “vomit bag” out before looking at it though, ‘cause it is sure to make you sick. At least I hope so... If you were one of the residents of the 17 remaining homes around this block, would YOU want to look outside and see a WAREHOUSE standing where your 13 of your friends and neighbors used to live? "The video speaks for itself"... well, IF you had actually WATCHED the video, then you'd learn these things. I agree that a warehouse - or anything for that matter - would look better than what's there now. BUT, they DIDN’T look like that PRIOR to the purchase by the NC ABC! I'm not kidding myself at all... I KNOW this ISN'T Wrightsville Beach OR Landfall. And just what do YOU know about "this area"? Do you or have you lived here? Do you have friends here? Do you go to the liquor store often? I love how you call it “this area”, like it’s the armpit of Wilmington or something. I realize that “old” doesn’t immediately translate into “historic”... trust me, I’m fully aware of that. I live in an “old” house in the immediately surrounding neighborhood. It’s NOT historic by any means. I would like to know where you received your data regarding that “for every well-maintained home, there is a dump that looks like it’s ready to fall down”, ‘cause I certainly can’t say that that is remotely true. So, it’s one-for-one on that block then? Perhaps we oughta call the code enforcement officers and get “this area” cleaned up once and for all, huh?!? Check your facts. I would have figured that someone with the name “ commonsensenotcommontoday” would be a little more reasonable and forthwith concerning “blanket statements” such as that. Perhaps your name is a little more introspective than you thought. Wooster and 17th are ZONED and/or DESIGNATED for commercial traffic. 18th is NOT and that’s where they plan to exit the property - right onto 18th! It’s a RESIDENTIAL NEIGHBORHOOD!!! And you are correct that they’ve been delivering to the existing facility, but entering and exiting onto 17th! Once again, how is the DEMOLITION of 13 homes and numerous trees IDEAL to serve the local restaurants and bars when there are literally dozens of abandoned warehouses and EMPTY lots available for something such as this facility? I am not proposing that we DEMOLISH some homes on Pembroke Jones and make way for a fancy-schmancy new liquor store. Nor am I saying that Johnny Mercer’s pier should be DESTROYED to make way for a new warehouse. I’m not an idiot. But have you heard of MLK or 421... that ARE zoned for exact type of facility?!? The main point here is that it was HOW this was done that really IRKS the concerned citizens. If full disclosure was adhered to, we would have known what was planned a LONG time ago and acted then. This is NOT the last you’ll hear from me or the group of concerned residents of this area. If you want more REAL information about just what has and is about to take place here, just send me a message. I’ll be happy to provide more! ********* STOP *********

Too bad you live in a fantasy world

I won't even attempt to match your volume, but here are some things to consider: The many parking spaces are also for bar and restaurant personnel to come and pick up the liquor. Have you ever seen the existing facility during the Spring and Summer, and around the holidays? It's a total madhouse. The plans call for using Eighteenth Street beacuse it makes far more sense than tearing down the entire existing facility to use Seventeenth Street. As far as where I get my data from, I know the area quite well. Everyone does. I had a friend move in less than two blocks from the location under discussion. She moved out within the year after sufferring two break-ins and having her car broken into as well. When I visited her, I was comforted by the fact that I carry a sidearm. I freely admit that there are many wonderful people living in very cute houses they maintain well in the area. You need to admit that there are also hundreds of dive rentals that are rat and roach havens and occupied by the dregs of society. One of our many recent murders took place within blocks of this location, just a few minutes walking distance. Drive out those drug dealers, gangs, and thieves, fix up those crumbling rentals, and your argument will stand up far better. Until then, accept the reality that is your neighborhood.

Right on

I wish you all the luck in the world with this, Ron. Speaking of 421, there is a HUGE ABC store that has empty parking in it. They say they bought the land, that they have to do something with it. From the looks of things, they are already fixing to lay that parking lot. Wonder who got the parking lot contract? Bet if you look deep enough, it is someone in bed with the state.

A 'HUGE ABC store?"

Too bad we're not dicussing a simple ABC store. We're talking about a wholesale distribution wrehouse selling to business establishments that serve alcohol. The relatively small store you are referring to could not fill that function; there simply isn't enough room. Plus, businesses from the beach communities would have to travel that much further. The current location is centrally located to serve everyone.

so, you mean to tell me...

...that for the benefit of the "beach communities", we should PLOW a BLOCK of HOMES into the earth to "make it MORE CONVENIENT" for them?!? LOOK AT A MAP!!! Something up near the airport off of 23rd would be the IDEAL location... AND they would get to use that fancy-schmancy new interchange up there! Oh yeah, isn't the whole reason we're talking about this a result of a proposed EXPANSION?!? Why can't they EXPAND the facility on 421 that was mentioned??? Some people just don't get it... you're right though, we ARE talking about a proposed DISTRIBUTION WAREHOUSE... in the MIDDLE OF A NEIGHBORHOOD!!! And THAT is the point... ********* STOP ********* THE ABC WAREHOUSE EXPANSION AT 17TH ST. AND CASTLE ST.


You mean FORMER homes. Their owners sold them. They and the land they sit on now belong to the new owner who was overly generous in what they paid. What you seemingly can't grasp is that the ABC agency wants to expand a currently functional facility at that location. They don't want to move up to 23rd Street. They don't want to move across the river. They want to use the property adjacent to that which they already have, to build a larger facilty. The existing warehouse isn't operating over on 421, is it? So since the houses are empty, stripped, and will never be occupied again, what's your true motivation? This isn't some attempt to extort the land from ABC to build some park or community center, is it? In that light, are the neighborhood residents ready to cough up an amount equal to what ABC paid to buy the land back and keep that warehouse from expanding?

Oh, I can FULLY grasp what has happened...

This is getting ridiculous... you're making this personal when it has nothing to do with either YOU or I... it's about the homes and our neighborhood. I completely understand that the NC ABC wants to expand a currently functional facility. I'm well aware of that. I realize that they don't WANT to move. What YOU don't grasp is the fact that the HOMES were NOT like this PRIOR to their purchase by the NC ABC. As far as motivation is concerned, call me CRAZY, but I'm just not up for seeing old, comfortable, well built, affordable, nice looking, potentially historic homes being bulldozed to make way for a parking lot and a liquor warehouse! Heaven forbid we want nice looking things in and around where we live. I must be completely NUTS! TRUE motivation... interesting that you bring that up as the TRUE motivation of the NC ABC was never fully disclosed prior to filing for a DEMOLITION permit. Look, we don't want a park, we don't want a community center and we certainly can't afford (as a group) to purchase the land and HOMES back from the NC ABC. You say "park" and "community center" like you actually mean "sewage treatment plant" and "nuclear hazardous waste storage facility" by the way... like there's something wrong with a park and community center. What we DON'T want is to see the HOMES and TREES destroyed in order to make room for a PARKING LOT.

Ron, I'm not trying to get under your skin

I was out of line to ask you for your true motivation. I have no reason to believe that you have any ulterior motive. Here's my view: NIMBY-ism is one of the worst forces impacting us in today's world, and it seems that as a nation, we are becoming psychotic about it. Whatever the change is, a group immediately rises against it. We need oil but we aren't allowed to drill offshore. We need electricity but people are suing to stop new power plants. Locally, we need a new landfill, BADLY, but we will not get a landfill because people won't accept it, regardless of need. A local source of portland cement would reduce concrete costs for everyone, but fear of some POSSIBLE pollution means that Titan shouldn't even be allowed to go through the permitting process. It would bne far safer to make the enriched uranium here at the GE plant than truck it in over the highways, but there's a group fighting even that.... ....and let's not forget the number of blue-collar jobs all those projects would provide. I understand some of your feelings. I hate the fact that my little house in the country is now in the heart of suburbia. The hundreds of acres of pristine pine forest behind my house are now hundreds of acres of McMansions. But whether I like it, or you like it, or everyone else likes it, or no one likes it, THINGS CHANGE. They have to! In the case at hand, you know, deep in your heart, that the expanded warehouse will have little of no impact on the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Street corridors. Yes, ten houses are gone, but they ARE GONE, and they're not coming back. The warehouse taking over one block will mean very little in the long run. I cannot and will not defend the ABC board's carelessness in not being more open with their plans. To totally ignore the neighborhood was inviting opposition, and they have now it. But you need to pick your battles. There are a lot more important things you could be doing to help your neighborhood. An expanded ABC warehouse is the least of your worries. (BTW, there wouldn't BE a warehouse there if the state would get out of the liquor business and open the field up to free-market comptetition. That would drop prices across the board for everyone.....but the legislature would lose their minds without THAT cash cow.)

Thank you...

That was a very respectful rebuttal. I'm working on this right now so don't have much time to elaborate more, but I will.

same people

Those same people that wanted the ABC to knock down homes are the same ones that now do not want the city to annex property out towards Porters Neck. They claim the urban sprawl is killing the city.

Seems to me that a huge-ass facility with 18 wheelers roaming around at 3am does more damage to the community.

It is now 2012 and the homes are gone, nothing is in its place. Naked ground is everywhere.
Where is the promise of newly planted trees? Three and a half years later and no trees - no progress either.

Time to vote next week on new commissioners.

WHich of those commissioners were responsible here and voted with the ABC board? Lets not forget them and vote them off the board.