New Hanover County Commissioners approve new $53 million government center

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NEW HANOVER COUNTY, NC (WWAY) — New Hanover County will be getting a new government center after a vote by county commissioners Tuesday evening.

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.

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Commissioners approved a development agreement and a $53.5 million capital project ordinance to finance the costs.

Discussions about redeveloping the center began in August 2019.

Commissioner Rob Zapple says the current facility, a converted shopping mall built in the 1980s, has outlived its usefulness.

“The cost in HVAC, the lack of insulation, and most jarringly, the inability to have natural light to any of our employees other than a few who have offices on the west-facing side,” Zapple said. “A new building is warranted and it can’t come fast enough.”

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

Groundbreaking is expected next month, and the new facility is expected to be complete in summer of 2022.

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

Click here for the supporting documents from Tuesday’s commission meeting.