What Happened at Whispering Pines?
For our latest You Ask... Patch Answers, one readers wants to know why construction halted on the Salem Street condominium complex.
The foundation was laid. But that's where, for the time being at least, construction ended at the Whispering Pines condominium complex.
So one Wilmington Patch reader wants to know, what exactly happened, and is it allowable for the builders to leave the foundation unfinished?
"When they put two foundations in they built (one building) in back now we have to look at an eye sore every time you drive by," said the reader. "They have not done anything to the first building lot since they put in foundation in. Why would they be allowed to do that?"
The conversation about Whispering Pines stretches back more than one year ago when representatives were in front of the Board of Selectmen in March 2011.
At that meeting, Kristen Costa and Linn Anderson told selectmen that due to a lack of sales, they needed to lower the number of rentals that were required to be sold to residents 55 and older.
“We’re not alone,” said Costa at the time. “It’s across the state that over-55 projects have run into the same problems we have. Many have lifted the restriction or removed it completely.”
According to Planning Director Carole Hamilton, it is that same economic struggle that prevented Whispering Pines from continuing on with its construction plans.
"Unfortunately that is economics and the private sector. You can’t really force someone to build something they can’t afford to build," said Hamilton. "The developer was granted a permit for the foundation in anticipation of building both buildings. It has not been economically feasible. Yes it’s allowed. As far as when or will it be finished? I can’t answer that."
Town Manager Michael Caira said similarly that there isn't anything the town can do about the empty foundation. But he added he is hopeful that the project can eventually be completed.
"I empathize with the residents who have to see that daily," said Caira. "When I drive by there I’m disappointed with what it looks like. I hope the market turns around so they can develop the lot appropriately. I can absolutely understand why a resident or anyone else would be unhappy with the current condition of the property."