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Galleria could have new life if Wrightsville Beach lets it go

WRIGHTSVILLE BEACH, NC (WWAY) — You might have seen the deserted Galleria shopping center on your way to Wrightsville Beach. A new developer is trying to bring the Galleria back to life if the Town of Wrightsville Beach will let it go.

The town is considering deannexing the 12-acre property to allow its owner to fill the empty property with stores and places to live.

“I know it’s been sitting empty for quite a while, and it’s kind of an eyesore to the community, so it would actually be really nice for something to actually go in there and kind of make this area a little bit nicer,” Wilmington resident Jeremy Ames said.

Those who drive by the ghost town of a shopping center say it needs to be revitalized, but the change could mean a loss of revenue for Wrightsville Beach.

“Basically we would lose that tax base,” Wrightsville Beach Town Manager Tim Owens said.

That means a loss of nearly $7,200 a year. It’s something town aldermen considered when they unanimously rejected a proposal last summer by the property’s former owner to deannex the area and make it part of Wilmington. But with new leadership, those who live in Wrightsville Beach are hopeful for a change.

“It would be great,” Wrightsville Beach resident Thomas Huffman said. “I mean it’s a great location. People ride by it all the time.”

If aldermen vote to allow the deannexation, a member of the General Assembly will have to submit a bill to make it happen.

Wilmington Mayor Bill Saffo says he will support whatever Wrightsville Beach decides.

“If Wrightsville Beach decides to move forward with the deannexation, we would oblige and help out and take that into the City of Wilmington,” Saffo said. “If the (Town) of Wrightsville Beach decides against it, we support whatever Wrightsville Beach’s decision is.”

There will be a public hearing tomorrow at 5:30 p.m. at Wrightsville Beach Town Hall. It’s to hear what the community thinks of the possible change.

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