courthouse-clocktowerHere in New Hanover County, the community, elected officials and county staff cooperate to balance a high quality of life with a progressive business and economic climate.

At less than 200 square miles, New Hanover County is the second smallest – geographically – of the 100 North Carolina counties; however, it is home to more than 232,000 people.

New Hanover County is not just a great place in which to live or visit. New Hanover County is also a great place to do business. Tourism, film production, the service and retail sectors are the engines that power our economy.

Our Mission: New Hanover County is committed to progressive public policy, superior service, courteous contact, judicious exercise of authority, and sound fiscal management to meet the needs and concerns of our citizens today and tomorrow.

The government of New Hanover County is committed to ensuring that you are safe, healthy and secure; that is our promise to you.

New Hanover County Manager Chris Coudriet serves as chief administrator of county government and maintains responsibility for administering all departments under the general control of the five-member Board of Commissioners.

The county manager’s work includes the development of the county’s annual budget. The budget is the policy document, financial plan, and operations guide and communications device of county government. It reflects the county’s response to the needs of the community and residents’ requests for services. New Hanover County’s government operates on a $392 million multi-fund budget for the fiscal year that began July 1, 2018 and ends June 30, 2019, serving more than 227,000 residents.

In addition, the manager and his executive leadership team are responsible for aligning the operations of the county to the adopted strategic plan and advancing the county’s mission and vision through five key focus areas: superior education and workforce, superior public health and safety, intelligent growth and economic development, strong financial performance, and effective county management.

Mr. Coudriet has served as the county manager since July 2012. Prior to his appointment, he served as assistant county manager for New Hanover County for four years and as county manager in Franklin and Washington counties, N.C.

Mr. Coudriet has nearly twenty-five years of public administration experience, with more than a decade as a county manager in North Carolina. He has a Bachelor of Science Degree in Urban and Regional Planning from East Carolina University and a Master’s Degree in Public Administration from the University of North Carolina at Pembroke.

He is a native of eastern North Carolina. Chris and his wife, Leigh, and two children Montgomery and Silas, reside in Wilmington.

New Hanover County has received the final economic development target analysis report from Jay Garner titled Pathways to Prosperity: New Hanover County’s Plan for Jobs and Investment and it’s critical companion piece, the Competitive Realties Report.

Manager's Message

Purpose-designed government center & redeveloped land will benefit the community

Posted August 21, 2019 at 10:17 am

By County Manager Chris Coudriet

A new government center. Possible retail, residential and commercial space. A new hub of activity for New Hanover County and the city of Wilmington. That’s what a public-private partnership on the county’s land off of South College Road could accomplish.

Right now, the government center sits on 15 acres of land in a retrofitted shopping mall, originally built in 1989. New Hanover County bought it back in 2002 and renovated it over the next several years for the county’s use.

Our administrative functions, Tax Office, Development Services, Register of Deeds satellite office, and more, operate out of this building. And it has served us well, but – overall – is inefficient for our operations. The sprawling atrium is a large unused space, departments are disconnected and often hard for citizens to find, and most of the offices have no natural light because they are in converted storefronts or storage areas.

From a business perspective, it is important to explore the possibility of a new building that is designed specifically for our needs and around service to our customers.

So Commissioners have approved us moving forward with a Request for Qualifications (RFQ), which is being developed now and will go out in the coming weeks, to find a developer that can help us accomplish our goals.

In that RFQ, we will have specific requirements that frame the project; and any development agreement would ensure the county and community’s priorities are achieved.

For instance, any new government center building will need to be an efficient, open and inviting work environment. It needs to be built to withstand storms, and include our Emergency Operations Center and 911 Center.

It also needs to maximize the facility usage, and be built with sustainable materials. A green roof and an outdoor employee break area will be a priority, with natural lighting throughout the building. The space will be designed for its intended use – so that it benefits our employees and makes it easy for our citizens to access services.

In the mixed-use development on the site, a developer will need to incorporate things like open space, adequate parking, affordable housing (if there is a residential component on the site), and sustainable building methods.

A public-private partnership will allow the county to enter into a contract with a private developer, who would then bear the risk and management responsibility for the development. This would help us capture the potential and value of our site, decrease the county’s risk in redeveloping on our own, and also bring tax revenue to the county and city.

Our tract of land is also in a Federal Opportunity Zone, which is a community investment tool to encourage long-term investments by providing tax incentives for qualified investors. That makes this land more appealing to a developer, and a good time to explore this as a possibility.

In terms of the county’s investment, we have about $20 million in repair and upkeep costs over the next 20 years to remain in our current building, based on our Property Management Department’s maintenance priorities.

This redevelopment opportunity could allow us to spend a similar amount of money and construct a brand new building to fit our needs now and in the future. As an example, we are almost complete with the county’s $20 million Health and Human Services building, which is 96,103 square feet and built specifically for service to our community. So we could build new or maintain our existing government center building – all for around the same amount.

By the end of the year, we hope to bring forward a qualified partner to the Board of Commissioners to determine next steps, and potentially begin negotiations on a development agreement.

If we move forward with a qualified developer, we will make sure that county services remain on our current site until a new building is constructed to have as little interruption in county services as possible.

Our ultimate goal is to build a purpose-designed government center that serves our citizens well, and also brings new vitality to this area, creates connectivity, and offers a variety of uses for the community’s benefit. I believe we can accomplish that and look forward to what the future holds.


County Zoning Gets Full Revamp After 50 Years

Posted July 16, 2019 at 1:22 pm

By County Manager Chris Coudriet Fifty years is a long time, especially when it comes to development. The way we think about development, its connectivity, density, affordability, and so much … Read More »


Your tax dollars are being spent wisely

Posted June 18, 2019 at 10:52 am

By County Manager Chris Coudriet New Hanover County’s $399 million balanced budget for Fiscal Year 2019-2020 has been adopted by the Board of Commissioners. It focuses on investments in education, … Read More »


Thank you, New Hanover County employees

Posted May 14, 2019 at 10:01 am

By County Manager Chris Coudriet Recently, we held our fifth-annual “Reach for the Stars” Banquet, where the county recognized 232 people who received a Stellar Award over the past year … Read More »


County construction projects stay on budget & on schedule

Posted April 18, 2019 at 12:53 pm

By County Manager Chris Coudriet In any construction project, whether it’s building a new home or renovating your kitchen, it’s important to know how much things will cost. And it’s … Read More »