South Front

South Front Apartments consists of converting an abandoned public housing project, (Nesbitt Court), into market rental apartments. Founded in 1938, the Wilmington Housing Authority was the first municipal public housing agency in North Carolina. Nesbitt court as the first project built by the new authority. The project was abandoned in 2008 because of the outdated floorplans and lack or air-conditioning.  Because the buildings are historic, we renovated the apartments without changing the window and door locations on the exterior. The buildings have solid masonry exterior walls and flat plate concrete floors supported by mid-span columns. All interior walls, fixtures, plumbing, and electrical wiring were removed while keeping existing steel pan interior stairs. We reimagined apartments for twenty-first century living that work to the existing window and door openings. While the number of apartments is the same, we reduced the number of bedrooms in each unit type to increase the size of the kitchen and number of bathrooms.  Interior stucco was removed to highlight brick and terracotta exterior walls. Existing concrete floors were polished to resemble terrazzo. Mini-split HVAC units and exposed conduit wiring are used. New interior partitions are wood stud with gypsum wallboard.  Although we added air-conditioning, we kept the original concept of flow-thru ventilation to cool the apartments on temperate days.



Our award-winning project combines adaptive reuse and historical preservation in a new downtown community.

COTHRAN HARRIS // Architecture.