Developers bring Johnnie Mercer’s Pier, MOI projects to Tuesday planning board meeting


The Wrightsville Beach Planning Board will again consider approving a project for the empty lot by Johnnie Mercer’s Pier, while also weighing whether to allow the demolition of the Middle of the Island building, when it meets on tonight at 6 p.m.

The planning board will consider changes made to the  proposed “Atlantic View” residential duplex project, which would bring at least 10 duplexes to the lot.  Developers proposed to build several duplexes on the lot, each approximately 2,800 square feet, and meets the town’s contentious 40-foot height limit that developers have said hinders building retail and commercial properties on the site. The duplexes would line both Seagull and Salisbury streets, with a one-way entrance and exit on Seagull Street and a private drive and landscaping in between the rows of duplexes.

The developers are returning to the Wrightsville Beach Planning Board after it rejected the project on Aug. 1, mainly after several members raised concerns that the project didn’t have a commercial element. They suggested devoting space in one of the 11 duplexes for a commercial or retail element.

Town Manager Tim Owens said that the developers resubmitted the project, this time with a commercial space. He said the commercial space would be next to Johnnie Mercer’s Pier, with the bottom unit being commercial and the top unit being residential.

The project was submitted by a development group called 19 E. Salisbury Street, LLC, with town documents noting that Wilmington-area homebuilder D. Logan would represent the project.

The new proposal comes amid 10 years of vacancy at the property, which included proposals to raise the building height limit that were rejected by the Wrightsville Beach Board of Aldermen. The “Atlantic View” project meets the town’s 40-foot building height limit and comes after some change in ownership of the property.

To approve the development, which would be governed by a homeowners association, the town will have to change the town’s zoning ordinance to allow the “group housing” classification,  

Meanwhile, the planning board will also consider allowing the owners of Poe’s Tavern on Old Causeway Drive to demolish the neighboring building that once housed the Middle of the Island restaurant. The owners said they plan to turn the lot into parking. The building was first build nearly 40 years ago, but has been empty for nearly a decade.


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