By Dees Stribling, Contributing Editor
Wilmington, N.C.—The South Front Apartments, a redevelopment of the former Nesbitt Courts public housing project in downtown Wilmington, is nearing completion. The 13-acre property, which developer Tribute Properties bought from the Wilmington Housing Authority in October 2010, will offer 216 apartments when finished.
Redevelopment of the property is yet another real estate project complicated and delayed by the onset of the Great Recession. Originally dating from the 1940, Nesbitt Courts remained public housing until 2007, when the last tenants left. Plans to redevelop it as public housing, as well as later plans to sell the property to other would-be developers, fell through during the difficult years after that.
The one- and two-bedroom apartments at South Front are being offered at market rates. The least expensive of the one-bedroom floorplans will fetch $675 a month, with others going for $775. The two-bedroom floorplans will range from $975 to $1,025 a month.
As a redevelopment of an older property, the South Front will incorporate some of the structure’s vintage elements, such as polished concrete floors and terra-cotta walls. The former Nesbitt Courts was constructed with solid concrete masonry, which is rarely used in residential building any more, let alone in multifamily construction.
The developers will also be applying for LEED silver for the property. Among other sustainable features, each residence will be equipped with a “mini-split” HVAC system providing programmable thermostats in nearly every living space, and the residences will feature Energy Star-rated appliances.
All the dwelling units will be qualified under Energy Star for Homes, according to Tribute Properties. To meet that standard, the units must be at least 15 percent more energy efficient than homes built to the 2004 International Residential Code, and must include additional energy-saving features that typically make them 20 to 30 percent more efficient than standard homes.