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Real Estate Developer Robert Rosenberg, Who Died Friday, Had 'naturally Entrepreneurial Mind'

By Cece Nunn, posted Mar 27, 2023
Robert Rosenberg
A real estate developer and one of the owners of boutique hotel The Hive in downtown Wilmington died Friday at the age of 57.

Wilmington resident Robert Rosenberg, whose cause of death was cardiac arrest, owned The Hive Boutique Hotel at 505 N. Second St. in downtown Wilmington with business partner Kaylie O'Connor. The two also had other area hotel projects in the works.

According to his obituary, Rosenberg is survived by his wife of 35 years, Charlotte Rosenberg; his children, twins Adam Rosenberg and Chelsea Cooper; and his son-in-law, Daniel Cooper.

O'Connor and Rosenberg's business partnership came about when Rosenberg hired O'Connor to work with him on a web-based caregiving platform he had developed to help with his own aging parents and later a technology app for volunteer management.

"But by far the most fun we had was in real estate development and the creation of The Hive," O'Connor said in an email Monday. "He was more than my business partner; he was my mentor teaching me everything he knew from his 30+ years of development experience. His aspirations for our projects were always bigger than I could envision and constantly evolving in his naturally entrepreneurial mind, so every day was an adventure with him!"

Rosenberg and O’Connor opened The Hive, a 15-suite boutique hotel in two buildings, in 2019.

One of Rosenberg's most memorable traits, O'Connor said, was the way he took people under his wing, "myself included. He loved to share his knowledge, gave great advice and would have given the shirt off his back to anyone in need."

She said Rosenberg took a lot of pride in his work and loved what he did. "I believe the reason he enjoyed real estate development so much was because of how open-ended the projects could be and how much fun he could have with them," O'Connor said.

In a Greater Wilmington Business Journal story in January, O’Connor said she and Rosenberg wanted to build a hotel in Carolina Beach that could have 42 rooms, a pool and a rooftop bar, after their $1.7 million purchase of property on North Lake Park Boulevard. What will happen to those and other hotel plans is not set in stone.

"In typical Robert fashion, there were big plans in the works, but given his sudden departure 'what’s next' is a little hard to predict at this point," O'Connor said. "Luckily, he left us with a lot of people who think the world of him and would love to see his legacy continue, so stay tuned."

What Rosenberg loved the most about Wilmington was the people he got to meet, she said.

"He was a 'serial networker' with friends and contacts in every circle within this town and he liked to have a hand, or a say, in improving Wilmington for the greater good," O'Connor said.

According to an online memorial, the "mischievous" Rosenberg "loved being a father and an uncle, and he absolutely loved his nieces and nephews, who he goofed around with and instigated into causing just a little bit of trouble. Robert was a person, who made strangers into friends and friends into family. Robert's friends became the siblings he always wanted to have, and these friends and their children, his 'nieces' and 'nephews,' became like family."

The memorial went on to describe him as a very generous person. "He was also very much devoted to the restoration of the Giblem Lodge and what that building symbolizes for the African American community and the history of Wilmington," O'Connor said. "As a result, his family has requested donations to the Giblem Lodge in lieu of flowers."

A funeral service will be held at 2 p.m. Thursday at Andrews Mortuary Market Street Chapel, with burial immediately afterward at Oleander Memorial Gardens.

(Photo above is courtesy of Summer Lambert Photography/Kaylie O'Connor)

Correction: This version provides Robert Rosenberg's correct age.
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