Commissioners to consider revised agreement for Government Center

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New Hanover County Government Center. (Photo: Kylie Jones/WWAY)

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — Instead of leasing the new Government Center once it’s redeveloped, the New Hanover County Board of Commissioners plans to instead finance the construction of the facility.

Commissioners will hold a public hearing on a revised development agreement for the Government Center redevelopment on January 19.

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The redevelopment will include a newly-designed facility for county offices, including an expanded Emergency Operations and 911 Center, as well as mixed-use commercial and residential, with affordable housing, greenspace, and increased tax revenue for the county and city.

The Board of Commissioners previously approved a development agreement for the project in June 2020, but the agreement has since been revised to reflect a new arrangement where the county would no longer lease the new Government Center facility from the developer, but instead would enter into a twenty-year public debt to finance the construction of the facility.

The developer, Cape Fear FD Stonewater, LLC, would continue to manage the construction of both the public and private facilities on the site.

“In consultation with the Local Government Commission, the county has worked with the developer to update our agreement and change the deal from a lease to a debt for the county,” said Chief Financial Officer Lisa Wurtzbacher. “Interest rates for county borrowings have continued to drop, so the county will issue its own debt and finance the construction for the new Government Center building, and in doing so allow for cost savings for the county and our taxpayers.”

Under the revised agreement, the new decreased project amount is $45.9 million, down  from $49 million. The county would retain ownership of the land where a new Government Center is built and then sell the other half of its land to the developer for the construction of a mixed-use residential and commercial development at the appraised price of $8.84 per square foot.

The Government Center’s project timeline, design, and other information can be found at NHCgov.com/government-center.