Sawmill Marina gets new owner

Jul 30, 2012

Story by: J. Elias O’Neal, posted on WilmingtonBiz.com

A former casualty of the region’s once overheated real estate market now has a new owner, as the area’s commercial sector continues to show more signs of activity.

Brian Eckel, principal broker and partner of Wilmington-based Cape Fear Commercial, announced Monday that the 8.06-acre former Sawmill Marina property was recently sold to Sawmill Point Investors LLC for $3.6 million.

The parcel, which includes a 42-slip marina and is registered as an official brownfield site with the state, was originally priced at $4.4 million.

The 5.42-acre “Upper Dean” property, adjacent to the Sawmill Marina tract fronting Front Street, remains for sale.

Eckel and Hank Miller represented the sellers, Atlanta-based SunTrust Bank.

Paul Loukas, a broker with Cape Fear Commercial, represented Sawmill Point Investors during the transaction.

Sawmill Point Investors is part of Charlotte-based South Street Partners, which specializes in acquiring, managing and strategically exiting distressed real estate assets across the Southeast.

It’s unclear what the new owners have in store for the one of the last remaining developable riverfront properties downtown.

Jordan Phillips, who heads Sawmill Point Investors and is a partner in South Street Partners, could not be reached for comment Monday afternoon.

The recent transaction is one of many deals that are forthcoming for the downtown Wilmington area.

Eckel and Miller – who have sold more than $10 million worth of property in downtown Wilmington in the last year, including the former Gateway and The View properties – have also placed 119 Market St. under contract with undisclosed terms.

The Market Street parcel was once slated for a 10-story office building.

Work also continues on the Northern Riverfront Marina and Hotel development, as officials with USA InvestCo construct a 204-slip marina and 10-story Hotel Indigo. Future plans also include class-A office buildings, luxury condos and stores spreading out from the marina.

And the recent closing and relocation of RCS Equipment Rentals leaves 1.29 acres of prime real estate at the intersection of North Front and Third streets in limbo, yet ripe for future redevelopment.
“We have been very fortunate over the last year with bank-owned dispositions,” Eckel said. “We believe there is good evidence that the market has found the bottom and is starting to slowly recover.”

View original story at the Greater Wilmington Business Journal.