Commissioners to consider updates and next steps for Project Grace 

Posted June 16, 2022 at 8:32 am     Category: County CommissionersNews Release

NEW HANOVER COUNTY, NC – At its meeting on Monday, June 20, the New Hanover County Board of Commissioners will consider an amendment to the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for the development of Project Grace and direct whether to move forward with applying to the Local Government Commission for approval of the lease agreements for the project.

As part of this discussion and decision, Commissioners will hold a public hearing at the meeting for citizens to provide comments on the public expenditures related to the project.

The initial MOU with Zimmer Development Company was approved by the Board of Commissioners in March 2021. Since that time, schematic plans, design development documents, and final construction documents have been prepared and the project has been further refined. From this process, there are several updates in the proposed amendment to the MOU including:

  • Added Square Feet: Approximately 4,000 additional square feet for the library and museum building (for a total of 84,905 square feet), based on the design and space usage needs, at no extra cost to the county.
  • Reduced Lease Rate: The base rent amount for the Cape Fear Museum and Library facility is reduced from $4,508,000 to $4,003,000 annually (and at the end of 20 years, the county will own the building outright). This reduction comes from the removal of $7,500,000 from the developer’s budget for the design and fabrication of the Cape Fear Museum exhibits, which will instead be funded through the county’s loan proceeds and ensure direct collaboration between exhibit designers and museum staff.
  • New Stair Tower: The addition of a replacement stair tower as part of the existing parking facility to create safer and easier access from the parking garage into the county building, at no extra cost to the county.
  • Private Investment: An increase of private investment on the block by the developer, from approximately $23 million to just over $30 million – which will further increase tax revenues to the city and county.
  • Project Continuation: A provision has been added for New Hanover County to purchase the plans from Zimmer Development at a cost not to exceed $2.5 million in the event necessary approvals from the Local Government Commission are not received.

The June 20 meeting of the Board of Commissioners will be held at 9 a.m. at the New Hanover County Historic Courthouse, 24 North Third St., Room 301. The public can attend and make comments on the financial structure of the project during the public hearing, or watch the meeting live on NHCTV at Spectrum Cable channel 13, NHCTV.com, or YouTube.com/NewHanoverCo.

The MOU amendment being considered can be viewed here. Visit NHCgov.com/project-grace for more information, design overviews and FAQs about the project.

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