Wilmington’s MLK Center expansion to break ground in September

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North Carolina Construction News staff writer

Construction is expected to start later this year on the MLK Center in Wilmington, after several delays including a stop work order issued due to concerns about the design plan. Construction will last 12 to 15 months, and the new estimated completion date is between September and November 2024.

A request for construction proposals will be released within eight weeks, and work could start in September. The project has been delayed several times, including when a stop-work order was issued due to concerns about the proposed design plan.

However, community services director Amy Beatty told council at a meeting this week that design plans will be completed by the beginning of April. Different construction materials were considered to reduce the cost and an independent team reviewed plans to provide suggestions on constructability. For example, the engineering team opting for a different method for building the veneer walls.

Renovations are expected to cost about $6.2 million and will include 11,275 sq. ft. of space with a new gym, lobby, upgraded restrooms, office space, storage for equipment and a new floor plan and a commercial kitchen.

Market volatility has improved and the price of materials have stabilized, according to the staff report.

“This could still come down in cost based on what the market conditions are for construction,” Mayor Bill Saffo said. “The market is changing every single day.”

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