In a remarkable move destined to solidify the legacy of basketball legend Michael Jordan, New Hanover County Manager Chris Coudriet unveiled an ambitious plan during Wilmington Business Journal’s Power Breakfast Series. The announcement, met with resounding enthusiasm, confirmed the establishment of a Michael Jordan museum at the corner of Third and Chestnut streets in downtown Wilmington.
The proposed museum, a standalone building, is set to become a pivotal part of Project Grace—a groundbreaking initiative that involves a public-private partnership between Cape Fear Development and the county. The project aims to merge the current library with the Cape Fear Museum. Alongside the museum, Cape Fear Development will oversee a mixed-use space encompassing retail outlets, restaurants, and residential spaces.
During the Power Breakfast, Coudriet’s electrifying revelation captivated the audience of 500 attendees, eliciting a standing ovation. “Would you believe those things are possible in our community?” Coudriet posed, emphasizing the potential of this museum to symbolize dedication, hard work, and the journey towards becoming the “Greatest of All Time.”
The county has taken an initial step by entering into a memorandum of understanding with the Jordan family to delve into the prospects of the museum in the upcoming year. This venue is projected to celebrate Jordan’s unparalleled accomplishments and his enduring legacy in the world of sports.
As per a county press release, the memorandum will delineate the subsequent stages of planning, encompassing schematic design and operational intricacies of this groundbreaking partnership. The financing for this phase will be included within the overall Project Grace budget and is anticipated to commence in 2024.
While details regarding the cost and financial responsibility for the museum were not explicitly addressed during the breakfast event, the enthusiasm and commitment to honoring Jordan’s legacy were palpable.
The significance of this museum stems from Wilmington’s historical connection to Michael Jordan. The basketball icon honed his skills at Laney High School in the 1970s and ’80s before ascending to global fame. His journey continued at UNC Chapel Hill, where he played for the Tar Heels, eventually securing an NCAA win.
Despite Jordan’s monumental impact on basketball, Wilmington has yet to host a large-scale permanent homage to the revered sports figure. This museum aims to fill that void by commemorating his remarkable career and contributions to the sport.
Beyond his basketball career, Jordan’s philanthropic endeavors also stand out. He has been actively involved in funding the Michael Jordan Family Medical Clinics, exemplifying his commitment to providing comprehensive healthcare services to underserved communities.
The unveiling of the Michael Jordan museum serves as a pivotal addition to Project Grace, a venture that has been in the pipeline for several years. Despite financial challenges and transitions in development leadership, the commencement of this project marks a significant milestone for New Hanover County.
As the redevelopment progresses, the combined library and museum, spanning 95,000 square feet, is anticipated to be a beacon of cultural significance and an enduring testament to Michael Jordan’s lasting impact on sports, community, and philanthropy.