Property owner says bankrupt Gateway Project will still happen

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — Plans to build a condominium complex at the foot of the Cape Fear Memorial Bridge are hazy. A Wilmington company that owns the land filed for bankruptcy in August to keep the bank from foreclosing on the property, but the bank is tired of not being paid and recently filed a motion that would help them get the money they’re owed.

In a few years when you drive over the bridge into Wilmington, instead of seeing empty land, you may see a condominium complex, complete with a restaurant, boat slips, and a swimming pool. But it’s far from a done-deal.

“I’ve learned some things about endurance and persistence,” said John Evans, whose company River2Sea owns the property.

River2Sea filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in August less than an hour before the land was scheduled to be auctioned off. Now SunTrust Bank has filed a motion for adequate protection because the mortgages have not been paid.

“It’s something that’s good for everyone, the neighborhood, for the city,” Evans said. “And we just have to not lose heart when there are problems and find creative solutions.”

Evans says developer Ron Pickett’s company Wilmington Gateway is contracted to buy the property, but there are other obstacles.

Critics have worried for years about increased traffic in the area. Right next door Colonial Terminals plans to add more chemical tanks.

There’s no set time-frame on when the project will move forward, but Evans is certain it will happen.

In the meantime, the total amount of debt exceeds the value of the property. Last week the creditors were supposed to have their first meeting, but it was postponed. SunTrust is basically saying pay us or we’ll foreclose.

Categories: New Hanover

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