Wilmington DRIVE Program Makes Strategic Acquisition

Wilmington DRIVE Program Makes Strategic Acquisition Main Photo

3 Oct 2023


The Program Closes on the Masonic Lodge Site in Downtown Wilmington


The Wilmington DRIVE (Downtown Revitalization Investment Vibrancy Effort) Program, adopted a year ago, with the goal of enhancing and accelerating Wilmington’s downtown revitalization and encouraging creative mix-use development, made its first strategic acquisition, closing on the Masonic Lodge Site (28 W. Main St.) on September 29, 2023.


The purchase provides site control for redevelopment and will allow for strategic planning to begin on potential redevelopment. The site, the historic home of the Wilmington Masonic Lodge, as well as home to many other retail, office, and art studio spaces over its history, is a strategic keystone location in downtown Wilmington and has been the focus of many local redevelopment conversations over the years. 


Excited to work in collaboration with the Port Authority, Wilmington College has agreed to provide a study that will evaluate development of the building for multiple uses, including education, workforce development, and general commerce. “This is a valuable opportunity for a public-private partnership with true positive economic impact for the community,” noted Alex Beres, Executive Director of the Clinton County Port Authority.


The Wilmington DRIVE’s mission is to enhance and help accelerate Wilmington’s downtown revitalization, encourage creative adaptive re-use and mixed-use development, and reduce the financial barriers to investing in the community’s urban core, while preserving strategic, historic, and significant real estate assets that help define the urban fabric of downtown. That mission aligns with Wilmington College’s goal to operate within the building to deliver on programmatic goals of the College that align with the broader goals of economic and community development initiatives.


The DRIVE program is designed to facilitate new private sector investment, generating new job creation and downtown housing opportunities, adding market opportunities for existing and prospective retail, dining, entertainment, and service businesses in the community. The initial round of funding for the program was provided by the City of Wilmington, Clinton County Board of Commissioners, and the Community Improvement Corporation of Wilmington. The Clinton County Port Authority is responsible for managing the Wilmington DRIVE program on behalf of the funding partners.


Updates and frequently asked questions about DRIVE projects can be found on the Port Authority’s website at ChooseClintonCountyOH.org/doing-business/wilmington-drive.


Images courtesy of the Clinton County History Center.

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