Community Update: Next Steps for Library & Museum Downtown Facility

Posted November 9, 2022 at 12:57 pm     Category: County Commissioners

November 14, 2022: The Board of Commissioners approved the purchase of the design plans for the museum and library facility as well as a resolution for the continued use of the existing museum building, as outlined in the overview below.


November 9, 2022: Below are several updates on the current status of the project to bring a new Public Library and Cape Fear Museum into downtown Wilmington and next steps:

  • At its September 22 meeting, the Local Government Commission did not approve the financing arrangement for the new library and museum facility. Without this approval, Zimmer Development has determined they can no longer move forward as the county’s private development partner for the block.
  • On the Board of Commissioners’ November 14 agenda, there will be a budget amendment to acquire the design plans for the library and museum building and a resolution that outlines the county’s intentions for the existing Cape Fear Museum building.
    • Design Plans: The development team and county staff have worked hard to create a purpose-designed facility that meets the vision and needs of both the library and museum to best serve the community. As outlined in the Memorandum of Understanding, the county will purchase the design plans and construction documents for $2.5 million. This amount is based on actual costs incurred by the developer during the Project Grace process, and the county will receive a full accounting with invoice details to verify the amount being paid.
    • Resolution: A resolution outlining that the current museum facility on Market Street will continue to be used for museum operations, either in its current capacity or as an extension of the new museum, will be considered by the board. This helps to solidify the county’s vision to use the current building as a component of the museum. The county is also proceeding with a master study plan for the current museum building that will help to shape the overall needs and uses of that facility.
  • In the coming months, the county will continue to work on this project but does not expect for construction to begin right away on the new facility. This is primarily due to inflation, increased interest rates, and construction costs in today’s market, given the timing delays for the project and now that the county will need to finance the project on its own. By actively monitoring market conditions, reviewing the design for possible cost reductions and value engineering, and determining how best to partner with a developer to ensure a compatible development and tax revenue on the other half of the block – the county hopes to move forward with the project some time in 2023.

Updates will continue to be shared with the community as additional next steps are known. More information and background on this project can also be found at  NHCgov.com/project-grace.

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Communications and Outreach: 230 Government Center Drive, Suite 195 • Wilmington, NC 28403 • Phone 910-798-7461 • Fax 910-798-7277
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