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 220,000 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.

County ManagerNew 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 $352.1 million budget for the fiscal year that began July 1, 2016 and ends June 30, 2017, serving more than 220,000 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 public health, safety and education, intelligent growth and economic development, productive strategic partnerships, 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.

Coudriet has twenty years of public administration experience, with more than a decade as a county manager in North Carolina. He has a Bachelor’s 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 along with 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

Redevelopment of County Property Has Economic Development Potential

Posted February 10, 2017 at 9:05 am

Imagine a city block in a growing and vibrant downtown that has the potential to be redeveloped into a more productive, useful space. That is the vision for the county-owned block in downtown Wilmington, bordered by Grace, Third, Chestnut and Second Streets. It is surrounded by businesses and nearby hotels, only two blocks from the Riverwalk, and within walking distance to every downtown restaurant.

Right now, the county’s main library branch, the new Story Park, an EMS facility, a 650-space parking deck, and three surface parking lots comprise this three-acre block. But it could be utilized in a much more efficient way. The parking lots are underused and there is empty space of no value in the block’s current design.

The potential of this property cannot be overstated. With a visionary and strategic approach to redevelopment, the block has the opportunity to help change the landscape of downtown Wilmington – attracting new businesses, adding jobs, and bringing more residents to the area. Improvements to the block, while retaining its important public uses, could maximize the taxpayer’s asset of owning this property and is an opportunity to provide added value to the citizens of New Hanover County.

As part of New Hanover County’s commitment to economic development, in January, the New Hanover County Board of Commissioners unanimously approved a contract with Wilmington Downtown, Inc. (WDI) to work with a consultant on creating a market study, site analysis, and alternatives for redeveloping this entire block that New Hanover County owns.

The consultant, Benchmark Planning, has been successful with similar redevelopment studies for public-owned property. WDI is one of the county’s economic development partners and has helped to grow and develop downtown Wilmington. They are well positioned to help lead this project.

In the coming months, Benchmark Planning will conduct a Market Demand Analysis of the block to determine sustainable development opportunities and a Site Analysis to examine the land-use codes and architectural issues of the entire block. The analysis will also include a review of the main library, which was originally built as a Belk Department Store in 1951 and reconfigured into the library in 1981.

Benchmark’s research will show concrete data on what the market can support on this block, what will actually fit on the site, and several possibilities on how it could be arranged. A presentation with their preliminary findings, along with an associated financial analysis, is planned for the Commissioners in June. At that point, the Commissioners will determine if there is a benefit to pursuing redevelopment; and if so, the preferred development concept.

If the county moves forward with any type of redevelopment, the library services, Story Park, EMS services, and the 650-space structured parking deck that are currently on the block will remain, but the configuration has the potential to change.

The Library’s Advisory Board and administration are supportive of redevelopment that helps to improve the library’s services downtown with new designs and technologies. Based on current library trends, a smaller, more modern library has the potential to serve the community better than the current 101,000 square-foot library building.

Case studies throughout the country show the benefits of public-private partnerships in development. Nearby Wake County, with the help of Benchmark Planning, conducted a site and fiscal impact analysis on a piece of publicly-owned property. From the results, Wake County chose a development concept with a 90-unit residential building wrapping a publicly-owned parking structure. It is a successful example of the benefit of creative collaboration between the public and private sectors.

A public-private redevelopment of this kind is aligned with New Hanover County’s strategic goal to create and support a vibrant and culturally diverse community that encourages private investment. By putting public property back into the hands of the private sector, New Hanover County can expand the tax base, strengthen existing county facilities, and create opportunities for high-value offices.

This is an opportunity to leverage a publicly-owned piece of property to attract growth and advance the county’s economic development potential. It would directly further New Hanover County’s commitment to be a safe, healthy, and secure community.

Illustration Courtesy of City of Wilmington staff


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Posted January 6, 2017 at 10:00 am

New Hanover County is always looking for ways to improve the customer experience and increase citizen satisfaction. It is one of our strategic objectives for effective county management, and it … Read More »


What are YOUR priorities for New Hanover County? Your Voice Matters!

Posted November 30, 2016 at 4:54 pm

By now, I hope you have heard that New Hanover County is conducting its biennial citizen survey. It is online at www.SurveyNHC.com until December 12, and it was also mailed … Read More »


Preparation And Partnership Are Key To Disaster Preparedness

Posted October 28, 2016 at 2:10 pm

New Hanover County promises to keep our community safe, healthy, and secure. I am pleased to say that we kept that promise during Hurricane Matthew, thanks to our dedicated staff and community partners. Our … Read More »


New Hanover County Best Practices

Posted August 29, 2016 at 1:38 pm

I thought you might enjoy reading my most recent Greater Wilmington Business Journal Insight article, which highlights some of the ways that New Hanover County is being innovative, developing best practices, and delivering value for our citizens… … Read More »


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