BY CECE NUNN, POSTED JAN 19, 2022 GreaterWilmingtonBusinessJournal
A new request for redevelopment proposals for the city-owned property on Castle Street could be coming to the Wilmington City Council by March.
The council voted unanimously Tuesday night to allow the city’s staff to come up with the new RFP for 1110 Castle St. after the only proposal submitted for the 2019 request was withdrawn in December.
At issue is a former Wave Transit facility and land that one development partnership had wanted to turn into a mixed-use project, incorporating the 1948 bow-roofed structures on the site into a development with a small amount of workforce housing, market-rate residential units, and commercial space. That $10 million proposals is now on the scrap heap after the city and partnership didn’t come to an agreement on issues that included workforce housing.
Asked by Mayor Bill Saffo on Tuesday when a new Castle Street RFP would be available for consideration, City Manager Tony Caudle said, “I would imagine that we would be back to you no later than a March meeting with a request for proposals.”
Councilman Charlie Rivenbark asked, “Would a straight-out sale also be an option?” to which Caudle replied, “Absolutely. That was the staff’s original proposal on this, but we wanted to go back through the RFP process as council previously described.”
On Friday, the CEO of business development firm Genesis Block, Girard Newkirk, said his company is interested in transforming the property into a hub for inclusive entrepreneurship and more. If a new RFP is issued, Genesis Block would likely submit its plans for a Genesis Innovation Neighborhood, Newkirk said.
The 2019 RFP said, “The improvements to the property and the use or services provided on-site should incorporate a community asset that is inviting to the public. The proposed project should be in harmony with the surrounding neighborhood. The city is open to proposals including commercial uses, residential uses, or a combination thereof.”
In 2017, the Wilmington City Council approved a resolution “that required city-owned real property identified for development with residential use to include workforce housing as one of the criteria for evaluating proposals solicited through a request for proposals. Proposals including workforce residential uses are encouraged and are likely to receive preference in consideration.”