Proposed development on Cape Fear River would be tallest structure in county

NEW HANOVER COUNTY (WWAY) — A proposed development on the Cape Fear River could bring a big change to the look of downtown Wilmington.

KFJ Development Group wants to build a 8.36 acre high-density mixed-use community on the western shore of the river.

According to the proposal, multiple high rise buildings would contain 550 condominiums and 330 apartments. There would also be 100,000 square feet of retail and restaurant space, and 76,000 square feet set aside for a hotel.

KFJ technical director Frank Pasquale says the buildings could be as tall as 240 feet or around 20 stories. To put that in perspective, PPD, Wilmington’s tallest building, is less than 200 feet.

“We have created a zone exclusively for this piece of property that takes into account the height, which is nothing that is not already approved in the county, the density, which is nothing that is not already approved in the county, and we put it on 4.5 acres on the riverfront,” Pasquale said.

On Wednesday, residents got a chance to meet the developer and voice any questions and concerns related to zoning. One question raised was whether the project will create any affordable housing.

Pasquale says affordable housing will not be part of the Battle Point development, but could be part of a future project.

“The problem here is this is a tiny little piece of land, it’s very expensive property, you’re talking tens of millions of dollars to clean it up,” Pasquale said. “So you can’t really justify putting affordable housing here, but there is another piece of property not too far away from this that affordable housing fits in perfectly.”

Pasquale says one thing he hopes to accomplish is cleaning up the riverbank.

“The big issue for me, it’s a very personal issue, is the environment and the ecology of that riverfront,” he said. “I go past it with the boat and I cringe.”

The development group will have to go before the planning board, and then the Board of County Commissioners to get the plans approved.

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