Downtown Wilmington’s Arrive Hotel Evolves Again With Endgame

The long-awaited addition of a boutique hotel in the heart of downtown Wilmington appears to be moving forward with some tweaks, pending official approvals.

Located at the corner of Dock and S. Second streets, the ARRIVE Hotel opened in 2019 in the former Wilmingtonian Hotel – a building damaged almost exactly 100 years ago by Topsy, an escaped circus elephant in downtown Wilmington.

The boutique hotel continued to expand its footprint along S. Second Street. Now the ARRIVE brand, which is owned by California-based hotel group Palisociety, is looking to cross S. Second Street. The firm’s architects last week submitted plans for a 55-room hotel to Wilmington city planners. The proposal is expected to be presented to the city’s Historic Preservation Commission later this week for review.

More story:100 years ago, an elephant terrorized downtown Wilmington. This year, we’re celebrating.

Past coverage:Expansion of a 4-storey hotel planned in the city center

It won’t be the first time the commission has looked at the hotel’s expansion plans. In June 2019, the commission rejected plans for a taller version of the expansion, fearing it would tower over the nearby Tarrymore Hotel and other structures in the area. A few months later, a slightly shorter version of the hotel won commission approval.

Plans for the third phase of Wilmington's Arrive Hotel will be presented to the city's Historic Planning Commission next week.  A rendering shows a street level plan for the 100 block of S. 2nd Street.

The same plans, with some changes, including various minor exterior and interior changes, are being presented to the commission again this week. Since its last approval, the number of hotel rooms has increased by 11, from 44 rooms to 55.

The StarNews contacted ARRIVE to comment on the updates but did not receive a response by the publication deadline.

The expansion is the third and final phase of the hotel. The first phase included the completion of the restaurant at the Dram Yard Hotel and guest rooms located at 101, 105, and 109 S. Second Street. The second phase consists of the ongoing rehabilitation of 118 S. Second Street.

ARRIVE purchased the former Wilmingtonian hotel at 101 S. Second St. for just under $2.5 million in January 2018, county tax records show. The sale included subplots at 105 S. Second St., which housed two of Wilmingtonian’s former buildings, and the parking lot at 118 S. Second St.

The launch of the hotel’s third phase was delayed by damage to existing buildings caused by Hurricane Florence. Three of the existing buildings are still under repair and the fourth is expected to be rebuilt once phase three is complete, according to a letter to the Historic Preservation Commission from Bruce Bowman, principal of Bowman Murray Hemingway Architects in Wilmington.

Plans for the third phase of Wilmington's Arrive Hotel will be presented to the city's Historic Planning Commission next week.  A map shows the phases of the hotel buildings.

The third phase of the hotel will be located on a long vacant property that is currently used as a parking lot. City records show the site was used as a livery and railcar repair shop from 1904 to 1915, according to documents reviewed by the Historic Preservation Commission.

Plans for the hotel’s third phase will include four floors with a total area of ​​27,821 square feet. In addition to the 55 rooms, the ground floor will include commercial spaces.

The expansion is expected to add a growing number of hotel rooms to Wilmington’s convention district, which stretches from the Cape Fear Memorial to the Isabel Holmes Bridge and from Fourth Street to the Cape Fear River. As of August, the district had about 957 hotel rooms, according to the Wilmington and Beaches Convention and Visitors Bureau. This number was up from 853 in 2021.

Beyond the Convention District, Wilmington is home to approximately 4,845 lodging rooms, or approximately 61% of the 7,922 lodging units that exist in New Hanover County.

Journalist Emma Dill can be reached at [email protected]

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