Nesbitt Courts has been empty since 2007, but plans to demolish the historic Wilmington housing project could be going up in smoke. In April, Senator Kay Hagan came to Wilmington to award the Wilmington Housing Authority three million dollars in stimulus funding. Half of that money was budgeted for the demolition of Nesbitt Courts, but now a developer wants to buy that property, which means the housing authority can use the money on other shovel ready projects. “Money that we had received wasn’t for any specific purpose. After receiving those funds, we have decided that we would budget a portion of those funds for the demolition of Nesbitt Courts,” said Mike Krause, Wilmington Housing Authority CEO. Since Nesbitt Courts closed in 2007, the gray buildings and boarded up windows have created a bit of an eye soar for the neighborhood, but developer Walter Pancoe would like to renovate the buildings and add some color to the community. “It would be our objective to make those people drive by and say, ‘wow I didn't even know this was here’ and we think we can accomplish that,” said Walter Pancoe of Caper Corporation. The Wilmington Housing Authority agreed to sell the nearly 12.5 acre lot to Pancoe's company, the Caper Corporation. The agreed price is $3.1 million. Pancoe says the project would also raise tax money for the city. “And it would not add to their infrastructure because it is already there. All the sewers, and water and roads and paving are pretty much in place.” The Caper Corporation is currently in an examination period before the sale is finalized. If the sale is goes through, the Wilmington Housing Authority plans to use the stimulus money to renovate homes at the Creekwood community. The money from the sale would also be put to good use. “I think it provides us an opportunity to use the proceeds from the sale to do additional affordable housing development in the community which is something that not only fulfills our mission, but fulfills the need of the community as well,” Krause said. The Nesbitt Courts is on a historic registry and the buildings were created in the 1930’s. If the sale goes through it would be approved by March. Pancoe plans to turn the housing complex into town homes and add amenities like an indoor pool to the community. He expects the homes to cost less than $250,000.
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