Wilmington's historic Murchison building sold in $8.25 million deal

Downtown Wilmington's historic Murchison Building has a new owner.

The 11-story office building at 201 N. Front St. was sold this week for $8.25 million, according to a press release from Cape Fear Commercial, the real estate firm that represented buyer West Brackett, Inc.

West Brackett, Inc. lists its officers as executives of Maine-based real estate investment firm Bush Watson. Officers include Bush Watson founder Thomas Watson and David Bergeron, chief strategy officer with the company, according to the North Carolina Secretary of State.

The Murchison Building
The Murchison Building

The company owns The Pearl apartment complex located at the intersection of S. 5th Avenue and Wooster Street in Wilmington and recently submitted plans for a 94-unit apartment complex and restaurant in the city's Brooklyn Arts District.

Paul Loukas, a partner and broker-in-charge with Cape Fear Commercial, and Lindsey Hess, the company's senior vice president, represented the buyer.

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“We are very excited that our client was able to purchase such an iconic building,” Loukas wrote in the company's press release. “It’s truly a landmark for our historic downtown.”

“It’s an understatement to say that this was a delicate and complicated transaction,” Loukas added in the release. “With rising interest rates, and the fact that the building is a century old with over 80 tenants, we had to be nimble at every step.”

The Murchison Building in 1945. On the first floor, you can see Beulah Meir’s, a fashionable dress shop for women, and the offices of the StarNews.
The Murchison Building in 1945. On the first floor, you can see Beulah Meir’s, a fashionable dress shop for women, and the offices of the StarNews.

The building, which was completed in 1914, was designed by architect Kenneth Murchison and originally housed the Murchison Bank on the building's first floor.

"The Murch" as it has been known over the decades, "has been a staple of the waterfront skyline for nearly a century" according to the building's Wikipedia entry, and was the tallest structure in the Port City for nearly 100 years until the construction of PPD headquarters in 2007.

On the National Register of Historic Places, it housed The Wilmington Morning Star and Sunday Star-News – now the StarNews – on the west end of the ground floor from 1935 to 1970.

The building was sold in 2014 for $1.425 million.

“We’re proud to be a part of the Murchison Building’s story,” Hess wrote in the release. “The structure, and downtown Wilmington itself, is filled with history, and that presents so many exciting opportunities for the future.”

Reporter Emma Dill can be reached at 910-343-2096 or edill@gannett.com.

This article originally appeared on Wilmington StarNews: Downtown Wilmington's Murchison building sold to West Brackett, Inc.