It’s been 3 1/2 years since the cavernous Wilson’s restaurant just off New Centre Drive served a meal.
The restaurant – synonymous with weddings, banquets and parties – closed Oct. 21, 2008, and has been for sale since.
Now the Macedonia Missionary Baptist Church is under contract to buy the 30,000-square-foot building, which sits on 4.8 acres, and turn it into its new house of worship.
The restaurant building is a good fit for the church, with a large open area, kitchen and meeting rooms, said Keith Austin of Maus Warwick Matthews commercial real estate in Wilmington, who represented the church in the transaction.
Maus Warwick colleagues Steve Hall and Charlie Rivenbark represented the seller.
“It will be quite a process to convert Wilson’s into the church’s new home,” Austin said, so the church will continue at its present location, 3701 Princess Place Drive, until then.
Austin said that when the church moves, it will use the old church building as a recreational center.
At one point, the church planned to build on 30 acres on Martin Luther King Drive, “but the cost of new construction as opposed to remodeling seems to make more sense,” he added.
The church’s pastor, Rev. Terry Henry, did not return phone calls Tuesday.
The popular restaurant fell victim to a nationwide retrenchment in the food and beverage business as the Great Recession deepened.
When it closed, Wilson’s employed 10 people full-time and 65 part-time. It had a main dining area, five banquet rooms, an outdoor tiki cafe, a sports bar and 110-game arcade.
In December 2008, a two-day auction of restaurant equipment and furnishings drew scores to the former eatery.
Just about everything was on the block – sports memorabilia, artificial trees, serving trays, restaurant equipment, chairs, and a box of plastic spoons that went for $7.
Wayne Faulkner: 343-2329
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