City makes compromise to open Riverwalk restaurants


WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — The Wilmington City Council approved several items Tuesday night, one which moves forward the opening of two restaurants along the Riverwalk.

The two new restaurants Vida and Black Finn in Historic Downtown Wilmington were supposed to open last summer but due to the lack of public bathrooms they never did.

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When construction began the city made a deal with developer Chuck Shoninger that in order to open the restaurants he would have to build public bathrooms first.

However, due to various challenges like having to be a certain elevation and the site location, Shoninger was unable to do so. The bathrooms were supposed to be built within Pier 33 but that has yet to break ground.

So the city is giving Shoninger three years under one condition: the bathrooms inside both restaurants must be open to the public until new bathrooms are built.

“We knew that there was a deadline coming,” Wilmington Mayor, Bill Saffo said. “But we were not going to release him from the agreement that he had from the City of Wilmington that he would provide public restrooms. Now he is going to accommodate us with public restrooms temporarily within the restaurant space. But hopefully he’ll have the bathrooms constructed as quickly as possible.”

Mayor Saffo says now that the compromise is approved the restaurants can open their doors as soon as they receive their certificate of occupancy.

However, if the developer does not complete the public bathrooms within the next three years he will owe the city $250,000.