NEW HANOVER COUNTY, NC – The North Carolina Local Government Commission (LGC) approved New Hanover County’s debt financing of the new Government Center at its meeting on February 2. This approval moves the redevelopment forward, with construction set to begin in mid-March.
Through a public-private partnership with developer Cape Fear FD Stonewater, LLC, the 15-acre site’s redevelopment will include a newly-designed government facility with county offices and an expanded emergency operations and 911 center, as well as mixed-use commercial and residential space, with affordable housing, greenspace, and increased tax revenue for the county and city.
“I appreciate the Board of Commissioners’ vision and support that is making this project possible,” said County Manager Chris Coudriet. “And now with the approval of the LGC, we look forward to breaking ground in March and creating a purpose-built facility, designed with the customer at the center. We will also have open greenspace adjacent to our new building that will create an inviting government campus for our citizens to use and enjoy.”
As part of the development agreement, which was approved by Commissioners at their January 19 meeting, the developer will manage the construction of both the public and private facilities on the site, and the county will enter into a twenty-year public debt to finance the construction of the Government Center and retain ownership of the land where the new facility is built. The remaining portion of the land will be sold to the developer for the construction of a mixed-use residential and commercial development.
“Throughout our design process, we have had a core county team working to ensure this new building is right-sized for our operations and also built with growth in mind,” said New Hanover County’s Chief Facilities Officer Sara Warmuth. “The building we are currently in is outdated, inefficient, and has become expensive to operate; and there are several critical repair and maintenance projects that would be needed in the coming years that would cost around $20 million to complete. So constructing a new facility that fits our needs, allows for more efficient operations, and is more resilient and secure during emergencies, will benefit our employees and our community well into the future.”
While the new Government Center is constructed, county services will remain operational in the current building and will be moved directly into the new building once it is finished, which is tentatively expected in September 2022. Some traffic and parking will be rerouted to the south entrance of the building during construction, but all services will continue.
“This project is an example of forward-thinking governance by the New Hanover County Commission, county staff, and the LGC,” said Cape Fear FD Stonewater Managing Partner Brian Eckel. “We will be replacing an inefficient 1989 retail mall structure that currently serves as the Government Center, incorporating much-needed greenspace and community gathering areas, and creating a more resilient emergency operations center for times of extreme weather. At the same time, the county will benefit from significant private investment and increased tax revenue on the remaining property.”
Learn more about the project at NHCgov.com/Government-Center.