Circle K Could Be Built At Former Walgreens Site


The site of a former Walgreens on Dawson Street in Wilmington could soon hold a gas station and convenience store.

Walgreens left the more than 11,000-square-foot building at 1618 Dawson St. in 2021. Now, Circle K plans to demolish the vacant store to build a nearly 4,000-square-foot convenience store and 14 fuel pumps.

Before those plans move forward, Circle K officials hope to rezone the site from its current urban mixed-use district to a community business district. The Wilmington Planning Commission will consider a rezoning application for the site at its meeting on Wednesday.

The building, bordered by Dawson, S. 16th and S. 17th Streets, has a long history as a pharmacy. The building was constructed in 1998, according to a real estate listing. Before becoming a Walgreens, the store operated as a Rite Aid; before that, it was an Eckerd Drug.

New plans for the site would remove the existing building, replacing it with a single-story Circle K convenience store, an outdoor seating area, gas pumps, and a fuel canopy, according to rezoning documents. The site’s existing ATM will remain. According to the company’s website, Circle K currently has eight Wilmington area locations.

The rezoning and new construction will bring the site into compliance with the city’s current Land Development Code, adopted by city leaders in 2021. To comply with the updated rules, for example, plans place the proposed convenience store building along Dawson Street.

Plans incorporate design elements that promote pedestrian connectivity and enhanced landscaping and lighting. According to the rezoning application, plans also feature crime prevention through environmental design principles, including clear sightlines and night-time lighting.

The application argues the vacant building has become a “detriment to the surrounding growth” and needs “redevelopment and revitalization.”

Officials with the Wilmington Urban Area Metropolitan Planning Organization have waived the traffic impact analysis for the site since many of the car trips generated by the site will be “pass-by trips,” which will “contribute few net trips to the adjacent roadway network,” according to rezoning documents.

The building and surrounding lot are owned by ZP NO 45 LLC, according to New Hanover County property records. The limited liability company, which is registered to Jeffrey L. Zimmer of Wilmington-based Zimmer Development Co., purchased the site in 1998 for $495,000.

The property currently includes a single-story store and a nearly 33,000-square-foot parking lot. The building and land are valued at $3.4 million, according to a 2023 valuation from New Hanover County.

The Wilmington Planning Commission will consider the site’s rezoning at its regular meeting at 6 p.m. on Wednesday. The rezoning will also need approval from the Wilmington City Council.