Development proposal plants commercial space on farmland

Commercial space could appear on farmland near Castle Hayne Road in northern New Hanover County if a recent proposal materializes.

The property consists of just over 29 acres at 312 Hermitage Road near the GE campus in Wilmington. According to a community meeting notification issued by the county on Friday.

A concept plan for the project, called “Hermitage Road Development” on documents, shows 13 proposed buildings of 12,000 square feet each.

If granted, the owner’s application to New Hanover County changes the site’s zoning from residential (R-20) to commercial service district (CSD) designation.

A community meeting to discuss the development plan is scheduled from noon to 1 p.m. on December 16 at the site, adjacent to the existing driveway on the property, the notice said.

While not specifically referring to the county’s recent request, a website outlining plans for a business park called “New Leaf Landing” at 312 Hermitage Road, says, “This is an ideal location for New Hanover County’s new commercial service district. This new designation aims to shift areas from heavier industrial activities to residential areas by allowing a mix of light industrial/commercial, office and retail businesses.

Efforts to reach a New Leaf Landing representative using the number advertised on the proposed park’s website were not immediately successful Friday.

But the website also explains why New Leaf Landing officials think such a park could help meet demand.

“More and more [businesses] travel to the area to set up satellite locations and struggle to find available locations. Additionally, there is also a demand from start-ups in the region who need to start with a small location and grow as their business grows. Greater Wilmington Area [is] an excellent location for a site dedicated to the needs of light industrial businesses with public access,” according to the website. “Our intention is to construct a business park on Hermitage Road to allow flexible construction to meet the growing commercial needs of the area.”

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