Wilmington’s City Council approved a major development, The Avenue, along Military Cutoff Road last Tuesday. Area residents who attended the meeting cited traffic as the majority objection for the new development. Mayor Bill Saffo and city council members voted 5 – 2 in favor of the project, and then 6 – 1 to grant the developer a special use permit that will allow structures up to 75 feet. Plans include four buildings that required the necessary action.
In the past year The Carroll Companies reworked their initial plans to address traffic concerns from the city planning commission and area residents. Davenport Engineering designed improvements to Military Cutoff Road, addressing additional traffic that is anticipated to add to an already stressed thoroughfare. Landowner Gary Shipman has agreed to allow for a connection to the south of the project along Old McCumber Station Road. Landfall residents have not yet agreed to terms for connections to the north of The Avenue.
“We probably wouldn’t invest a dollar on Military Cutoff if we didn’t believe that post all of these improvements, it wouldn’t improve the performance of military cutoff,” Roy Carroll, President and CEO of The Carroll Companies said. “We are excited about the development of the interchanges on Eastwood and also Market Street and we believe it is going to have a very positive impact.”
The Avenue will encompass nearly 45 acres containing 525 apartments, a 231-room Westin hotel and spa, more than 140,000 square feet of office space, 115,000 square feet of boutique retail space and 16,000 square feet of restaurant space. State Senator Michael Lee is the attorney representing the developer and he requested a study by UNCW’s Swain Center which found the economic impact of this project to be more than $170 million in revenue to the city.