WilmingtonBiz Magazine - 2021 Commercial Real Estate

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interest Outside theTHE linesLINES with WITH OUTSIDE architect Rob Romero ARCHITECT ROB ROMERO MIXED-USESTIRS STIRS MIXED-USE THINGSUP UP THINGS RETHINKING RETHINKING THEOFFICE OFFICE THE

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PA R K E R A N D E R S O N Developer, SAMM Properties 910.200.6614 parker@sammproperties.comm


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LETTER FROM THE EDITOR BIZ BITES SOUND OFF BEHIND THE NUMBERS THE DIGEST C-SUITE CONVO THE TAKEAWAY

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COVER STORY: MODERN LINES THE RIGHT MIX WORK LIFE IN PROFILE: GALE WALLACE REAL ESTATE TRENDS IN PROFILE: CAPE FEAR COMMERCIAL MARKET SNAPSHOT RESTAURANT ROUNDUP: EXPANDING IDEA

ON THE COVER

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PHOTO BY T.J. DRECHSEL

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Architect Rob Romero’s designs turned shipping containers into housing units in The Cargo District. In this issue, we talk with Romero and other local architects whose works have added distinctive looks to parts of the city.

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LETTER FROM THE EDITOR

S PA C E a n d TIME

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pace, as it relates to the distance between two objects, has taken on new significance this past year. Last spring, 6 feet became the magic number – based on previous research of how far other virus droplets could spread – as a tool to try and outrun a pandemic. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s recommendation became the rule of thumb for our new concept of social distancing. We didn’t always measure out two arms’ lengths, and some experts argued that wasn’t far enough to outmatch this new virus. But those 6 feet (or 72 inches) had realworld impacts as we navigated these 12 months. Offices, manufacturing plants and classrooms had to at least acknowledge those 6 feet and plan accordingly. In many places, work layouts and habits changed to accommodate more empty space. For other places, more air meant fewer people, and for some struggling businesses or restaurants that meant not enough people to stay afloat. Throughout the region, some physical spaces closed; others remain shuttered waiting for a day to return. Still, other spaces have come online or will open in the months ahead – construction stayed busy during the year. Offices and mixed-use projects are going vertical (for an update on projects, turn to page 34). And coworking spaces have sprung up (page 29) in part to address the change in remote working. As we shift into the pandemic’s postvaccine phase, how we think of space, and personal space, could shift again over the

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coming months. On March 8, the CDC announced interim recommendations that said fully vaccinated people could visit indoors with other fully vaccinated people without wearing masks or physical distancing – i.e., no imaginary 6-foot circle. The CDC still recommends those who are fully vaccinated (meaning at least two weeks after their final dose) take precautions including masks and distancing when in public or around vulnerable people. As of March 8, 9% of North Carolinians had received their second dose of vaccine. A lot of variables remain with the rollout as well as what role virus variants might or might not play. But as more people fall into that fully vaccinated category, will we and the places we visit fill in more of that empty space that engulfed 2020? Only time will tell.

VICKY JANOWSKI, EDITOR vjanowski@wilmingtonbiz.com

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CONTRIBUTORS

M A G A Z I N E

2 0 2 1 R E A L E S TAT E I S S U E – $ 4 . 9 5

Publisher

JOHANNA C A N O JOHANNA CANO is a reporter for the Greater Wilmington Business Journal, covering the local tech and startups beat. She also serves as digital editor for WILMA magazine. Cano wrote “Work Life” about the rise of coworking spaces on PAGE 29.

Rob Kaiser

rkaiser@wilmingtonbiz.com

President

Robert Preville rpreville@wilmingtonbiz.com

Editor

Vicky Janowski vjanowski@wilmingtonbiz.com

A s s i s ta n t E d i t o r Cece Nunn

cnunn@wilmingtonbiz.com

Reporters

T. J . DRECHSEL T.J. DRECHSEL of Drechsel Photography is a Wilmington-based photographer whose work has been featured in national magazines including WILMA, Greater Wilmington Business Journal, Wrightsville Beach Magazine and North Brunswick Magazine. He specializes in wedding and landscape photography. Drechsel photographed “Modern Lines” on PAGE 19 and the "Building Interest" commercial real estate cover. tjdrechselphotography.com

Johanna Cano

jcano@wilmingtonbiz.com

Christina Haley O'Neal chaley@wilmingtonbiz.com

Vice President

of

Maggi Apel

Sales

mapel@wilmingtonbiz.com

Senior Account Executive Craig Snow

csnow@wilmingtonbiz.com

Account Executives Courtney Barden

cbarden@wilmingtonbiz.com

Ali Buckley

CHRISTINA H A L E Y O ' N E A L CHRISTINA HALEY O’NEAL is a reporter for the Greater Wilmington Business Journal, covering regional topics such as the local economy, major employers, transportation and film. She wrote “Modern Lines,” a checkin with area architects on signature projects, on PAGE 19.

abuckley@wilmingtonbiz.com

Marian Welsh mwelsh@wilmingtonbiz.com

O f f i c e & A u d i e n c e D e v e l o p m e n t M a nag e r Sandy Johnson

sjohnson@wilmingtonbiz.com

E v e n t s / D i g i ta l C o o r d i nat o r Elizabeth Stelzenmuller

events@wilmingtonbiz.com

D e s i g n / M e d i a C o o r d i nat o r Molly Jacques

production@wilmingtonbiz.com

C o n t e n t M a r k e t i n g C o o r d i nat o r Morgan Mattox

S T E P H SHEEHAN STEPH SHEEHAN of Stephanie Savas Photography is a portrait and editorial photographer based in Wilmington. She has a journalism degree from Boston University and has worked as a photographer in both Boston and Los Angeles. She shot Cape Fear Commericial's Vin Wells and Brian Eckel for “Team Work” on PAGE 38 and the Bitty & Beau's team for “Expanding Idea” on PAGE 44. stephaniesavasphotography.com

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mmattox@wilmingtonbiz.com

Contributing Designer Suzi Drake

art@wilmingtonbiz.com

C o n t r i b u t i n g P h o t o g r ap h e r s

T.J. Drechsel, Megan Deitz, Kevin Kleitches, Stephanie Savas Photography, Michael Cline Spencer, Terah Wilson

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Actionable Information

Wilmington’s Key to Business Intelligence Planting roots

Lloyd Singleton on tree management for storm prep Page 9

W ILMINGTONB IZ

February 1-14, 2019 Vol. 20, No. 3

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BRIAN CLARK Russ Lopatka Chip Mahan Jim Morton Pierre Naudé Jose Sartarelli David Simmon NEIL UNDERWOOD

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The 2019 Book on Business is out. To get a copy or order a downloadable version, go to wilmingtonbiz.com/bookonbusiness

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THE PARTNERSHIP ADVISORY GROUP Barb Biehner Chris Coudriet

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Several national retailers are shuttering stores Page 10

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Spence John Gizdi Shelbourn Stevens Jason Anderson Amy Beatty RHONDA BELLAMY

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NATALIE ENGLISH Terry Espy TRASK FAMILY Joe Finley

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Banking & Finance ................................ 4 The List .....................................5, 14, 15 Health Care .......................................... 6 Economic Development ........................ 8 In Profile ............................................... 9 Real Estate ................................... 10-12 Business of Life ............................. 18-19

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Preparing for takeoff: Julie Wilsey, director of the Wilmington International Airport, stands outside the facility where an expansion is set to take place over the next few years to accommodate growth.

ILM’S NEXT FLIGHT PLAN

BY CHRISTINA HALEY O’NEAL anding a third carrier and new flights at the Wilmington International Airport triggered unprecedented growth in passenger traffic last year. The new additions came as the airport embarks on its $60 million expansion that will increase ILM’s ability to handle more travelers in the coming years. Just over 934,000 passengers flew through the airport in 2018, 12 percent more than the previous year’s record. And that was despite a winter storm last January, a series of flight cancellations in the summer because of PSA Airlines’ technical issues nationwide and major disruption due to Hurricane Florence in September. Officials are now eyeing a milestone mark this year. “One million is an exciting number for us,” Airport Director Julie Wilsey said. “As we get closer, or break that 1 million passenger mark, it opens a lot of opportunities for ILM.” ILM wants to grow the airport but at the same time maintain that small-town, Southern charm that it has been known for, said Gary Broughton, the airport’s deputy director.

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“Our growth has been well thought out,” he said. Pushing the airport expansion forward is the biggest focus for ILM officials in 2019, with construction underway over several contracts between now and 2022. The airport is expected to grow from 95,000 square feet to more than 173,000 square feet, based on the most recent designs, and would be able to accommodate an estimated 705,000 outbound passengers a year, when the expansion is complete. There are times at ILM now when areas of the airport are reaching capacity, Wilsey said. “We need to get the building expanded so we can support more services and more passengers as the airport grows,” Wilsey said. And as ILM gains more travelers and more capacity, possibilities open up for the regional airport. That includes employing more people. Currently, there are about 480 people working there, 50 of whom are ILM staff, Broughton said. ILM will need to hire more help in the future, but just how much help is still being determined, he said. Airport officials continue in 2019 to market for addi-

See ILM, page 13

Donny Williams Lee Williams

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Beth & Shane Faulkner Shane Fernando HUNTLEY GARRIOTT Jeff JAMES TODD

ANNE BRENNAN Travis Corpening Phil Dattilo

John Brett Lanier Lisa Leath Ryan Legg CHRIS NEWTON Shaun Olsen DAVID REESER Stan Trofimchuk Karl Ricanek Yousry Sayed Daniel Summers GEORGE TAYLOR Kurt Taylor Craig Wagner “The PAG” Gary Winstead Amy Wright SCOTT ADAMS Patrick Brien LAURA headlines this year’s Campbell JOE CONWAY BROGDON-PRIMAVERA Philip Brown RobertWilmingtonBiz 100

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Carolina Beach’s commercial buildings have been getting colorful facelifts on the outside. A townwide mural initiative, dubbed the Carolina Beach Mural Project, has brightened the sides of several structures in recent months with artists’ interpretations of beach life. Jason Parker’s “Carolina Dreamin” graces the side of Crush and Grind at 7 Harper Ave., just steps away from the touristattracting boardwalk. And more murals are on the way, said project founder and president Maureen Lewis. photo by TERAH WILSON

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BizBites

SIDESTEPPING

OPPORTUNITY COST

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ODAY THERE IS GROWING INTEREST IN SPEC BUILDINGS.

You may ask, ‘What is a spec building?’ A spec building is constructed with the hopes of finding a suitable user to purchase or lease the building. This is something that we have been actively pursuing to develop in Brunswick County. By having buildings available, you gain the opportunity to promote your area for growth. Many industrial businesses seeking to expand or grow are looking for an existing building that will work for their production process and provide tangible benefits of doing business in certain geographic regions. During my 32 years as a professional economic developer, about 80-85% of these companies are looking for an existing building that will accommodate their needs. Brunswick Business & Industry Development (Brunswick BID) is charged by Brunswick County to promote and recruit manufacturing firms to Brunswick County. Manufacturing facilities provide a much larger tax base that supports services required by the local government, and manufacturing jobs provide higher-paying jobs for local residents, thus increasing wages and the quality of life. There are many risks and factors that need to be considered when investing in a spec building. Mark Twain said, “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines! Sail away from safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails.

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B I L L EARLY Explore. Dream. Discover!” Attracting a prospective company is more successful when you have a spec building that meets the needs of a prospective tenant. Consider the business climate of your community and the infrastructure needed to adequately support the business. Study the current local, state, national and international economy and expected growth. Make informed decisions in determining the type of building needed for the unique opportunities that your community offers. Consider the square-footage requirement that is in high demand. Consider ceiling heights that will accommodate most manufacturing firms’ needs. Consider the type of constrxuction and potential office layout. Thought should be given to dock doors. In Brunswick County, there is a huge need for industrial-type manufacturing buildings in the range of 100,000 square feet or more. We consistently have requests that we cannot respond to due to the lack of this availability. Most commonly, spec buildings are either commercial-grade metal buildings or some form of concrete buildings. Generally, metal buildings are less expensive, but concrete has become more competitive in recent years. Given our geographic location, I tend to promote concrete buildings, which are less corrosive, more durable and M A G A Z I N E

more aesthetically appealing. Concrete buildings can also be easily expanded, another key factor to consider with a spec building. Often, a spec building might be 100,000 square feet and perfect for a company in every way, except, they need 125,000 square feet. In planning, ensure the proposed building is not “boxed in” and offers options to expand now or in the future. Another factor to consider is the ceiling heights. Years ago, many manufacturing companies operated efficiently with 20-foot ceilings when equipment was relatively small. Today, many companies need 30 feet or more for both manufacturing and warehousing. Having a building that provides the ceiling height that most companies need optimizes the potential for finding a suitable tenant. With proper design, offices can be upfitted to meet specific needs. Being a shell of a building allows flexibility in designing office space to meet the company’s individual needs. The same is true of dock doors. Design the building so that doors can be installed on either side or both sides of the building. With this being said, Brunswick BID is excited about the proposed spec building at the International Logistics Park on U.S. 74/76 in Brunswick County. This building is proposed at 150,000 square feet with 32-foot ceilings and is expandable to 301,000 square feet. The International Commerce Center is expected to be completed by the end of the second quarter of 2021. We believe this will be the first of many spec buildings to come to Brunswick County. In my experience, I have seen positive growth through the availability


BizBites of spec buildings to attract economic growth in counties that have projected population growth such as Brunswick County. Brunswick County has been the fastest-growing county in North Carolina for several years and is projected to continue that trend with anticipated 11.3% growth between 2019 and 2024. By implementing a new marketing strategy, Brunswick BID is committed to expanding economic opportunity to attract more companies to Brunswick County through the development of spec buildings. Brunswick County offers the infrastructure and support network needed by businesses to be successful while offering the lifestyle that is appealing to workers. “Life doesn’t always present you with the perfect opportunity at the perfect time. Opportunities come when you least expect them or when you’re not ready for them. Rarely are opportunities presented to you in the perfect way, in a nice little box with a yellow bow on top,” YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki said. “Opportunities, the good ones, they’re messy and confusing and hard to recognize. They’re risky. They challenge you.” Bill Early is the executive director of Brunswick Business & Industry Development.

2021

SPARK

S PA R K IDEAS

EDITOR'S NOTE: The Greater Wilmington Business Journal and WilmingtonBiz Magazine publish a regular series of op-eds about ideas for sparking economic growth in the region. If you have a column topic to be considered, email editor@wilmingtonbiz.com.

CROWDSOURCING REACTIONS, OPINIONS AND QUOTABLES FROM OUR ONLINE SOUNDING BOARDS

O N FA C E B O O K . C O M / W I L M I N GT O N B I Z WHAT’S SOMETHING YOU’VE BEEN PUTTING OFF THAT YOU’RE LOOKING FORWARD TO DOING ONCE THE PANDEMIC IS BEHIND US? “TRAVEL AND live music!” – STEFANIE ADAMS

“GO TO NEW ORLEANS to watch Zion play basketball.” – JIM ROBERTS

“GO OUT TO EAT with the family. Visit my mom in Charlotte.” – LIZ DODDS “BREATHING FRESH air while at work.” – MISTY SMITH “SEEING MY parents.” – NICOLA ZEPLA

T W I T T E R P O L L : @ W I L M I N GT O N B I Z COVID-19 VACCINE CHECK-IN, HAVE YOU*:

DON'T PLAN TO GET IT

* RESPONSES AS OF MARCH 3

W I L M I N GT O N B I Z . C O M

39.3%

17.9%

GOTTEN THE VACCINE WANT TO GET THE VACCINE

42.8% yes

READER REACTIONS:

PBC BUILDS HQ OUT OF PEARSALL MEMORIAL PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH “AS A MEMBER OF PEARSALL congregation for over 65 years, I was sad when we closed the doors for the last time. I was married in the sanctuary in July 1959, and the last memorial service conducted was for my wife in May 2019. The happiest and saddest days of my life were spent in Pearsall. I am happy that the property was purchased by someone with a sense of history and preservation.” – KEN O’QUINN

W I L M I N GT O N B I Z T A L K

FROM THE PODCAST “FROM THE STATE PERSPECTIVE, find a way to get the vaccines in the most trusted hands of health care providers – as many as possible. … Continue to educate the public on the value of the vaccine and find ways to reach out to the underserved and those affected disproportionately by COVID … Collaboration across all of the health care providers in the community because this is a community effort, and this is the community’s vaccine, and we’re entrusted to deliver this as efficiently and quickly as we possibly can.” – JEFF JAMES, WILMINGTON HEALTH CEO, ON HOW BEST TO ROLL OUT COVID-19 VACCINE DOSES SIGN UP FOR DAILY NEWS UPDATES AND SUBSCRIBE TO THE GREATER WILMINGTON BUSINESS JOURNAL AT WILMINGTONBIZ.COM

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©2021 Coldwell Banker Real Estate LLC, dba Coldwell Banker Commercial Affiliates. All rights reserved. Coldwell Banker Commercial® and the Coldwell Banker Commercial are registered service marks owned by Coldwell Banker Real Estate LLC. Coldwell Banker Real Estate LLC, dba Coldwell Banker Commercial Affiliates fully supports the principles of the Fair Housing Act and the Equal Opportunity Act. Each office is independently owned and operated. WilmingtonBiz M AG A Z I N E

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SO, WHAT HAPPENS NEXT?

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F YOU BELIEVE THE NATIONAL FORECAST OF AN IMPENDING 7% DROP IN RETAIL EMPLOYMENT, 3% DECLINE IN FOOD SERVICE AND 9% DECREASE IN TRAVEL AND ACCOMMODATION EMPLOYMENT OVER THE NEXT DECADE, DRIVEN BY BEHAVIORAL SHIFTS TO THE “NEW NORMAL,” THEN SOUTHEASTERN NORTH CAROLINA IS IN TROUBLE! But it’s more likely that the direst predictions are overblown, and Wilmington isn’t the U.S. The decline in restaurant employment from increased telework will disproportionately affect the larger metro areas, and – even now when most people are not flying – our regional tourism market is proving remarkably resilient. More likely, we will have our own unique challenges to face as teleworkers who moved to the area in search of affordable real estate and quality of life (ironically making the area less affordable) are called back to the office and must decide whether to go or stay. The challenge for our region will be managing the transition back to a nonpandemic world. Economists tend to think of disruptions and shocks to the economy as transient, persistent or a structural change, permanent. Since we’re all tired of talking about the pandemic’s disruption, let’s turn our attention to the “new normal,” if we believe there is such a

A D A M J O N E S thing. Transient effects are those that are short-lived and pass (such as online kindergarten we hope!), while persistent effects are not permanent but tend to fade or normalize more slowly (some remote work). And structural changes mean the world has changed in a more permanent way (online ordering for take-out meals). Structural changes we’re seeing were likely already in motion before the pandemic but accelerated by it. For example, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) darkened its outlook for retail employment, assuming that online shopping’s growth has accelerated due to the pandemic, but let’s face it, retail was already in the process of reinventing itself prepandemic. Thinking about our local challenges versus those of the nation or larger metro areas, we’re reminded that what’s true for a group may not be true for all its members. The most recent update to the BLS’ occupational outlook suggests that the pandemic may negatively affect employment in the restaurant industry for a sustained period as remote work lessens the demand for lunchtime meals. And while the national outlook is helpful in thinking about the regional outlook, one needs to be cautious about applying too much weight for specific industries and occupations. Without getting bogged down in the details of the BLS methodology,

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the update is driven by a basic assumption, teleworking will persist. But history suggests that might be a “strong” assumption, and the Wilmington area is not one of densely occupied office towers. Our employment is composed of work that is difficult to do remotely (health care, education, tourism, etc.), and the national projections of a structural change are not likely to be informative for thinking about our region. Further, anecdotal evidence (and room occupancy taxes) suggests an intrinsic desire to travel remains strong, and the collaborative nature of innovation and work is likely to push against the pandemic-induced teleworking, not to mention the extroverts who are dying to get back into the office. The challenges in our future are likely to be less about a dramatic shift in our local employment and more about managing the large number of new residents who may see their current telework disappear; even forward-thinking firms like Goldman Sachs are starting to talk about bringing workers back. As the persistence of telework declines, we may well have an “opportunity” to integrate those workers more fully into our local economy as they search for work locally. Whether the effects of the pandemic bringing talent to our region are transient, persistent or a structural shift depends on how we respond to the “opportunity” in our future. Adam Jones is a regional economist with UNCW’s Swain Center and an associate professor of economics at UNCW’s Cameron School of Business. R

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The state, which falls behind Maine, previously held the No. 1 spot for the past six years. While the gender makeup of the tech industry is still traditionally maledominated, many states have improved at including more women in the field. Despite this, almost every state does not have equal representation from women in tech, according to the figures. The report also looked at industry diversity. Only three states had a diversity index score above 100, meaning the rest were underrepresented. “North Carolina had a diversity index of 82 indicating that people of color and the Hispanic community are underrepresented in the tech industry compared to the state’s general population,” the report stated. “This put the state ranked 24th across all states and below the national average.” Additionally, the economic impact of the tech industry was evaluated. As of 2019, there were 269,920 workers in the tech industry, making up 6% of the total workforce in the state but comprising 11% of the state’s total earnings at about $30.4 billion. The number of technology establishments in 2019 was 21,042, an increase of more than 970 from the previous year. Using forecasting models, the expected growth of the tech industry in the state is 8.1% until 2025, ranking North Carolina 11th out of all states. According to the report, the “most encouraging metric of North Carolina’s tech industry is its recent growth and future growth potential.” Between 2014 and 2019, tech jobs grew by 18% in the state. That is the seventh-highest growth rate in the U.S. and double the national average of 8.8%. l m i n g t o n

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The 2021 report released earlier this year shows findings from job growth to economic impact to strengths as they pertain to data from 2019. One key finding for North Carolina is that it stands as No. 2 in the country for women in the tech industry, with women making up 35.4% of the tech workforce.

20.9%

12.5% 65 YEARS+ 4.1 % 0-10 YEARS 11-17 YEARS

VACCINE DISTRIBUTION AS OF MARCH 2 NEW HANOVER COUNTY 39,423

26,562

BRUNSWICK COUNTY 30,040

16,667

PENDER COUNTY 4,888 8,242

SOUTHEASTERN NC

EVERY YEAR SINCE 2015, THE N.C. TECHNOLOGY Association publishes its State of Technology Industry Report highlighting statistics and trends in the state’s tech industry.

WILMINGTON

BY JOHANNA CANO

Wi

39.3%

%

WOMEN IN TECH

50-64 YEARS

17.5%

18-24 YEARS

REPORT SHOWS STATE’S GROWING TECHNOLOGY TRENDS

14

25-49 YEARS

5.8

2

NC’S NATIONAL RANKING FOR

COVID CASES, BY AGE

yes

NUMBERS

NEW HANOVER CO.

BizBites

1ST DOSE 2ND DOSE

N O R T H C A R O L I N A’ S SOUTHEAST’S REGIONAL ECONOMIC D EVEL O PM E N T GOALS F O R 2 0 2 1 - 2 4

1,350

NEW JOBS

$270M

INVESTMENT

18 COMPANY

LOCATIONS

NORTH WATERFRONT PARK AMPHITHEATER CAPACITY

6,800 Sources: NHC Public Health, N.C. Department of Health and Human Services, North Carolina’s Southeast, City of Wilmington


Airside South Ramp Site Office 13,250 sq. ft.

Hangar & Loading Docks 96,800 sq. ft.

Runway access

Airside Has Its Upside. Set your business sites higher with a land lease on this 22-acre airside south ramp site at Wilmington International Airport (ILM). This is an exclusive opportunity for an aviation-related business needing an aircraft hangar and tarmac, with the possibilities of a self-service fuel farm, cargo area, distribution warehouse and a cross dock. Call 910.202.9390 for more information on how you can land the area’s best commercial aviation site.

flyilm.com/buspark

121008 ilm airside south ramp site ad-gwbj.indd 1

2/1/21 10:23 AM

“Building Partnerships that Deliver … Across North Carolina”

Maggie Ashburn, Tax Partner

Jamie May, Tax Manager

Thomas, Judy & Tucker (TJT) is pleased to open its fourth office at 4010 Oleander Drive in Wilmington and welcomes Maggie and Jamie, CPAs specializing in taxation services for growing businesses and their owners.

www.tjtpa.com Raleigh | Durham | Wilmington | Emerald Isle

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BizBites

DIGEST THE

A R O U N DU P O F R E C E N T CO MME R C IA L R E A L E STAT E NE WS

AUTUMN HALL EXPANDS FOOTPRINT

JORDAN GIVES $10M FOR MEDICAL CLINICS

Wilmington native Michael Jordan made a $10 million gift to the Novant Health Foundation to open two medical clinics in New Hanover County. The two new clinics are slated to open in early 2022. “I am very proud to once again partner with Novant Health to expand the Family Clinic model to bring better access to critical medical services in my hometown,” Jordan said in the announcement. “Everyone should have access to quality health care, no matter where they live, or whether or not they have insurance. Wilmington holds a special place in my heart and it’s truly gratifying to be able to give back to the community that supported me throughout my life.” Jordan’s donations total $17 million to help develop clinics, which are owned and operated by WinstonSalem-based Novant Health.

The announcement came just weeks after Novant Health closed Feb. 1 on its nearly $2 billion purchase of New Hanover Regional Medical Center, which includes a partnership with UNC Health and UNC School of Medicine. Novant Health and Jordan previously partnered to open two Michael Jordan Family Clinics in Charlotte. Officials haven’t yet announced where the clinics will be located in New Hanover County. Former NHRMC president and CEO John Gizdic, who was named executive vice president and chief business development officer for Novant post-sale, said the donation and partnership will help continue what NHRMC had set in motion to address the health needs of those underserved in the local community.

– CHRISTINA HALEY O'NEAL

TO STAY IN THE LOOP ON THE LATEST REAL ESTATE HAPPENINGS, CHECK OUT THE WEEKLY REAL ESTATE UPDATE EMAIL. SIGN UP AT WILMINGTONBIZ.COM.

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Autumn Hall has been growing into its next phase. The master-planned community off Eastwood Road already includes houses, apartments, office users and more. Under construction these days is the first building in the latest phase of the community’s expansion. At the corner of Autumn Hall Drive and Eastwood Road, the building is nearly 20,000 square feet, with about 10,000 square feet of Class A office space and nearly 10,000 square feet of restaurant and retail options. The retail offering will be anchored by a 2,264-square-foot Starbucks and a 5,500-square-foot, upscale restaurant to be owned and operated by well-known local restaurateur Ash Aziz. Cape Fear Commercial, which also is moving its office to the new building, is the brokerage in charge.

$15 MILLION

Amount NHC spent with MINORITY & WOMEN BUSINESS ENTERPRISE vendors

AN INCREASE OF

146 % after a policy change


BizBites

C-SUITE C O N V O

DOWNTOWN DIRECTION

I

and creates opportunities for new jobs, residents and investments into our downtown. We also want to become a trusted partner to other organizations that are doing impactful work in our city and region, such as Genesis Block, Downtown Business Alliance, UNCW’s Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, the Wilmington chamber and Wilmington Business Development.”

N JANUARY, HOLLY CHILDS TOOK THE REINS OF WILMINGTON DOWNTOWN INC., moving to

the Port City to serve as president and CEO of the group that runs point on economic development for the district. Childs, who has a background in commercial real estate and public sector economic development, said she wants to focus on those areas in her new role. Below is an excerpt from a recent conversation about Childs’ outlook on downtown. To read more, go to wilmingtonbizmagazine.com. THE GROUP HAS BEEN PRETTY VOCAL ABOUT SUPPORTING PROJECT GRACE, THE PUBLICPRIVATE PLAN BETWEEN NEW HANOVER COUNTY AND ZIMMER DEVELOPMENT CO., TO TURN THE BLOCK AROUND GRACE AND THIRD STREETS INTO A MIXED-USE DEVELOPMENT. WHY WAS THAT ONE OF THE FIRST THINGS YOU TACKLED IN YOUR NEW ROLE?

“Our mission at Wilmington Downtown Inc. (WDI) is ‘to promote the economic growth and development of downtown Wilmington,’ and the redevelopment of this block is absolutely critical to that mission – so it needed to be one of my top priorities. The block is currently a tired and blighted 3 acres right in the heart of our downtown that is owned by New Hanover County. It contains the main library, which is a woefully inadequate facility relative to modern downtown libraries in our competitive set of cities (e.g., Charlotte, Charleston, Savannah) and even in our own county (Pine Valley). … We also think it makes perfect sense to create a

HOLLY CHILDS

CEO & PRESIDENT

WILMINGTON DOWNTOWN INC.

vibrant civic and arts block with the co-location of both the library and the Cape Fear Museum as part of Project Grace, in order to allow for the museum to accommodate top-notch exhibits.” WHAT ARE THREE OF YOUR TOP PRIORITIES FOR WDI?

“Our top three priorities currently as an organization are to expand, initiate and partner. We want to expand our role in downtown so that people think of WDI as more of an economic development engine for downtown and not as just an events-focused organization. We also want to expand the definition of ‘downtown Wilmington’ to not be limited to the Central Business District, but to include other established districts in the city (e.g., Castle Street Antiques District, the Brooklyn Arts District) as well as emerging districts (e.g., South Front District, Cargo District, Soda Pop District). WDI wants to be known as a group that drives game-changing projects and initiatives like Project Grace, a downtown grocery store and the expansion of the Port City Trolley

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BY VICKY JANOWSKI

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WHAT ROLE DO YOU SEE WDI HAVING WITH DOWNTOWN BUSINESSES THAT STRUGGLED DURING THE PANDEMIC?

“Our businesses downtown – particularly our bars and restaurants – have been hit hard by the pandemic, and we know that it has been a financial challenge for them now for nearly a year. When the pandemic hit, WDI went to work to try to find meaningful ways to help our downtown businesses financially. Our Re-3 Grant Program (Restore, Restock, Recover) of up to $3,000 per business provided temporary relief to many businesses in the early stages of COVID-19, but it became clear that we needed to look at a way to make a bigger long-term impact. So just this month we just received approval from City Council to roll out our WDI Microloan Program for loans up to $20,000 that we are going to make available to businesses within our CBD, established business districts and emerging business districts. Loan terms are very attractive, and our interest rate for this program is ¾ Prime, which is currently 2.44%. Permitted uses for the loan are flexible and can even be used for up to three months of rent or mortgage payments.” R

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Wilmington's newest

workspace destination featuring:

Coworking Private offices Team suites

Meeting rooms Community events In-house coffee bar

Scan to book a tour and claim a free day of coworking from the Gaylord's newest addition! thecommondesk.com/locations/gwbj

We’re moving away from the industry’s traditional hierarchy of communication and decision-making to a more collaborative approach where owner, architect, engineer, contractor and trades come to the table with respected ideas and solutions.” -Danielle Conway, Monteith Construction

The GC Brief A clear vision, realistic expectations and passion for the revitalization of downtown Wilmington are a few reasons why 226 N. Front Street-turned-Common Desk is an example of a project rooted in partnership and problem-solving. The team behind the build at Monteith Construction shares what’s remarkable about the Gaylord Building’s new look.

Mike Doyle Preconstruction Director

Frank D’Andrea Project Executive

Danielle Conway Project Manager

“The building was structurally compromised, so we couldn’t safely go above the ground floor before starting to build. This amount of unknown demanded a two-phased project approach: first, tackling the shell, then, the interior upfit.”

“This project was an engineering feat, beginning with the steel skeleton installed to hold up the perimeter brick walls. We had to demo and rebuild level by level, so there was always an old building in there until the new building was in place.”

“Every decision made was in the best interest of the project. The trust between East West Partners, BMH Architects, Woods Engineering and Monteith allowed us to bring the Common Desk vision to life on time and on budget.”

See more projects that Thrill our partners at monteithco.com.

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M ODER N LINES

THE ARCHITECTS CHANGING THE CITYSCAPE ONE PROJECT AT A TIME

BY CHRISTINA HALEY O’NEAL P H O T O S B Y T. J . D R E C H S E L

I

T WAS WILMINGTON ARCHITECT ROB ROMERO’S VISION TO BRING SOMETHING UNIQUE TO THE CITY.

Drawing inspiration from French architect Le Corbusier and his idea that a home is a machine for living, Romero worked to bring that theory and aesthetic into the design of The Cargo District. From unique mixed-use projects to local headquarters, the region has been growing with the work of many innovative building designers such as Romero.

He’s among the pool of local architects bringing unique touches to developments that are changing the Wilmington skyline and leaving a more modern mark on the city’s commercial architecture through either building reuse, expansion or new construction.

THE CARGO DISTRICT

Starting in 2016, Romero (right) joined forces with Leslie Smith, the developer who had the vision for The Cargo District at South 16th and Queen streets. Romero helped bring Smith’s ideas to light. “It’s a bold development,” said

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Romero, who brought his architecture firm to Wilmington in 2006. His work with Smith on The Cargo District brought this urban mixed-use development that played off the trend of using shipping container architecture in a commercial setting. The project includes nine, onebedroom live/work units, each with nearly 600 square feet of living space. The building’s key pieces – the 20foot shipping containers – cost about $30,000 each to rehab for this job, he said. In his plans, Romero sketched windows at the container’s end to bring light into the spaces, in addition to slot windows, which were designed to minimize cuts to the container’s steel structure. The wooden floors of the container were also refurbished, he said. There were a lot of city zoning and planning issues “because they have certain codes in this district that won’t allow exposed container sides,” Romero said of the challenges. “So, I had to come up with a way to semidisguise it but not completely cover the container because we were trying to celebrate the container too.” It’s one of several container projects Romero’s firm, Romero Architecture, has designed plans for, but The Cargo District is the only one developed in Wilmington. In the future, however, shipping containers will also be used in a planned concept kitchen next to End of Days Distillery, which Romero also designed in the commercial part of the district. “This city has a long history of ships and water and shipping containers … and so there’s something unique in that it ties that history to the modern usage of these things, and I think that’s rare,” Romero said. “The area is somewhat industrial, and that vibe carries through this project nicely.”

SOUTH FRONT

At South Second and Greenfield streets, the industrial vibe carries through with the development of the South Front District. Architect Cothran Harris, of

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Architect Cothran Harris, of Wilmington-based Cothran Harris Architecture, designed the reuse of an industrial property in the city’s South Front District.

Wilmington-based Cothran Harris Architecture, was influenced by the “steampunk motif ” when visualizing the industrial elements and working them into his designs for the South Front project, he said. Harris signed on in 1999 to help bring about the vision of Tribute Companies President and CEO M A G A Z I N E

Mark Maynard that revitalized the surrounding blocks. His work with Maynard on the neighborhood has spanned about 20 years. The first phase of South Front’s development began in 2008, Harris said. Harris used in his design plans the existing industrial elements at the site,


best way to bring it back to life,” Harris said. “It’s always special to be able to help bring a particular building back to life.”

ATLANTIC PACKAGING HQ

PHOTOS C/O COTHRAN HARRIS ARCHITECTURE

empty units that were the Wilmington Housing Authority’s first public housing project, and reworked them into upscale apartments. Also, in an existing 1930s shirt factory next to the housing project, Harris redesigned the building into mixed-use, containing additional apartments and a recreational center for South Front apartments residents, as well as a commercial space. His designs brought an industrialurban look to the architecture of the old, once-empty structures. Additional commercial space was added to the South Front project that also included shipping containers in the elements, but that portion was designed by a firm out of Raleigh. Within the district, Harris worked on the exterior design of Benny’s Big Time Pizzeria and turned a former home into the commercial space facing South Third Street that that will hold Mariposa Tapas Bar. “A historical building or one of these factory buildings is a found object, and your job is to figure out what it wants to be and what’s the

Designs for a 14,700-squarefoot addition to Atlantic Packaging’s Wilmington headquarters building came about in 2018. Based on the desire of Atlantic Packaging’s leader Rusty Carter to bring a fresh new look and more space to the growing company, Wilmington architect Chip Hemingway, of Bowman Murray Hemingway Architects, reimagined the building. Hemingway’s work first came to life while drawing up the initial sketches freehand at his kitchen table. What he designed led to a twostory addition to the existing facility that would bring a modern look to both the company’s headquarters and the North 23rd Street corridor. The addition included 37 offices, an executive suite, conference and meeting space and a gym. Hemingway centered his designs around the idea of packaging to reflect the product the company creates, he said. “The packaging protects what is inside of it,” Hemingway said. “We wanted the skin of the new corporate headquarters to be sophisticated in the same way Atlantic Packaging’s products are sophisticated. We wanted the building’s skin to express,

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feature and project what’s inside Atlantic Packaging’s headquarters – its people – the company’s most important resource.” A challenge, however, came with bringing in all of what Atlantic Packaging needed as a company and fitting it into one space, he said. About a 100-foot section of the original building was cut off to make room for what the company needed in its home base. Hemingway came up with an L-shape design that extended the company’s existing offices into a new section of Atlantic Packaging’s property along North 23rd Street. The building included a large shade feature along the building’s street-facing side with a narrow garden tucked between the structure and the building. Hemingway designed this feature to buffer the building from the busy thoroughfare. Three clerestories pop up from the rooftop, and large windows at the lobby area also bring natural light into the building, he said. The headquarters addition opened in 2020. In the end, the design created “a dynamic architecture that speaks to not only Atlantic Packaging but also to the changing culture of Wilmington and how it’s growing to be a much more metropolitan area than it once was,” Hemingway said. “It has certainly dressed up North 23rd Street and reflects the direction that Wilmington is going.”

The headquarters of Atlantic Packaging brought a new look to North 23rd Street.

PHOTO C/O BOWMAN MURRAY HEMINGWAY ARCHITECTS

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Danny Adams, of LS3P Associates Ltd., counts CFCC’s Wilson Center as one of his most rewarding projects.

WILSON CENTER

A project in downtown Wilmington, built with a portion of Cape Fear Community College’s $164 million bond backed by New Hanover County voters in 2008, changed the face and aesthetic of the North Third Street corridor. It took about five years to design, build and create CFCC’s Wilson Center before the first performance was held in it, said Danny Adams, design leader and principal with the Wilmington office of LS3P Associates Ltd. About a year was spent trying to bring the project in budget, he said. “It was probably one of the most rewarding projects of my 25-year career,” said Adams, who joined the architecture firm in 2009. The four-story educational building and performance venue brought a modern look to the changing Third Street landscape as well as the setting of CFCC’s downtown campus. Major components for the project included a 1,500-seat theater, a supporting house and an administrative and classroom wing for both theater and arts courses, Adams said. Also within the building are 30 classrooms, a black-box theater and – in the center of the building – a rectangular, 20,000-square-foot, openair exterior courtyard. “The venue was always intended to be a teaching facility first and foremost,” Adams said.

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The Wilson Center’s unique components include the theater’s main lobby, which was designed to connect both the academic wing with the theatrical wing, he said. The Third Street lobby, much of it encased from floor to ceiling with glass windows, was also created “to maximize that visual connection to the energy and the activity of the lobby with the city and urban environment around it.” Adams was inspired by some of the poetic and romantic scenes used in performing arts, as well as the curves found in musical instruments, which influenced the overall look of the theater. He also designed the theater to create the best conditions for the spectator. The same type of building materials used in constructing other campus facilities was used in building the Wilson Center. Yet, the final product brought a modern design to the college setting and the city, he said. “I think this visionary goal of creating something that didn’t exist downtown, as part of that catalyst for the arts, was one driving factor that led to a much more modern use of the campus and the contextual materials,” Adams said. “Historically, we’ve been behind from some of our other regional cities like Raleigh and Charlotte. I think it’s symbolic that our modern architecture is becoming better established in Wilmington.”

M A G A Z I N E


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RENDERING C/O LS3P

Ardmore, a three-story building set for the corner of South 17th and Church streets, is an example of a mixed-use structure planned in Wilmington. The development by Wilmington-based PBC Design + Build includes 25 apartments and two commercial spaces.

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THE

RIGHT MIX A

DEVELOPERS WEIGH HOW MANY USES MAKE SENSE IN MIXED-USE PROJECTS BY CECE NUNN

rchitect and developer Clark Hipp envisions something better for a defunct, city-owned property in downtown

Wilmington. The forlorn site at 1110 Castle St. still holds buildings from when it was used for bus maintenance, but it isn’t used for anything now. The property is in a historic area of the Port City that in some places has seen better days, while in others, revitalization efforts have advanced, adding new homes and businesses. Hipp’s proposed redevelopment calls for renovating two existing buildings at the site, which holds former Wave Transit bus maintenance bays, and creating two multistory structures with ground-level commercial storefronts, affordable condos and apartments, on-site parking and open space.

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Hipp said the property is well-suited for the project. “Successful urban redevelopment typically has a mix of uses, not just a single office tower or a single residential tower,” Hipp said. “We feel like a mix of uses would be the best not only for our project but also for the neighborhood.” Hipp’s proposal has faced significant delays, the most recent question being through what mechanism the ownership would transfer to the developer, but Hipp said that he is hopeful it will be resolved soon. That’s one of the challenges faced by the Castle Street project. Mixed-use development in general doesn’t always have a smooth road to fruition. In the case of infill or redevelopment, opposition might come from neighbors who don’t want a particular housing type near their homes, who don’t want existing parking

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TH E ARGU ME N T F O R M I XED - U S E

PHOTO BY MICHAEL CLINE SPENCER

Glenn Harbeck, director of planning, development and transportation for the city of Wilmington, says mixed-use development has the potential to address growth issues. Some of those, according to Harbeck, are: • REDUCES AUTOMOBILE DEPENDENCY and traffic congestion, as well as accommodates more people moving to Wilmington without overwhelming the city’s street infrastructure • MAKES WILMINGTON MORE WALKABLE

• PLACES HIGHER-DENSITY MULTIFAMILY housing where it belongs, adjoining services rather than in stand-alone locations where automobiles are required for everything • PRESERVES NAT URAL COASTAL ECOSYSTEMS by reducing urban sprawl caused by the 20th-century idea of widely separating residential and nonresidential land uses • CAN PROVIDE A HIGHER QUALITY OF LIFE and meet the desire for convenience for those who want to have a more active lifestyle and be close to services and activities without the property maintenance that comes with a singlefamily home spaces used for the development’s stores or restaurants or who simply don’t want any more development whatsoever, citing quality-of-life concerns. Then there’s the question of how much of a mix a mixed-use project should have. “The challenge is that there’s no right formula,” said Anthony Chang, chair of one of the Urban Land Institute’s urban development mixeduse councils. Chang is also responsible for the commercial portfolio of Washington Real Estate Investment Trust, which is composed of office buildings with mixed-use retail on the ground floor and retail centers. One of the reasons for the absence of an exact formula for a mixed-use project is the frequently changing nature of how and where people want to spend their money. “I think retail has been going through a seismic transition before the pandemic, with Amazon and digital and clicks to bricks, and really pushing toward experiential real estate,” Chang said. “You see a lot more axthrowing places now that didn’t exist as a concept five years ago, and that’s

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Developer and architect Clark Hipp wants to turn a defunct city-owned property at 1110 Castle St. in Wilmington into a mixed-use project.

(and experiential commercial uses in general) hit a hard pause because of the pandemic. I believe it’s going to come back, but what that outlook’s like, it’s hard to say.” What’s not hard to say is that if a mix doesn’t work for a developer, the project or pieces of the project won’t get built, Chang said. Sometimes the mix depends on what’s going on in the neighborhood and the broader community, he said. “If you have the demographics to bring in retail first, then you layer in apartments and then you layer in office,” Chang said. “It really depends on where the demand is, and right now in the pandemic, there’s so many trends at work that are so fluid that it’s hard to predict next year, much less three to five years from now when things would actually get built. “So I think the overarching trend is just seeking flexibility.” In Wilmington, developers and commercial real estate brokers have said a recent change by city officials has made it harder to develop apartment projects that might have included some retail. The change is a requirement (with exceptions) of 20% commercial

M A G A Z I N E

space in mixed-use projects that fall within commercial districts and the Commercial District Mixed Use (CDMU) zoning designation. In October, city officials approved the change, now considered a closed loophole, but some developers say the requirement negatively impacts potential financing and viability of projects. “When it was adopted back in 2002 it was intended to be primarily a commercial development with some residential mixed in, but there were never any percentages specified,” said Glenn Harbeck, the city’s director of planning, development and transportation. “It was kind of like discovered, ‘Hey I could do a CDMU development, and I’ve got 1,000 feet of nonresidential space, then that’s a mix of use.’” The loophole meant there essentially were no density requirements for a multifamily project using the CDMU zoning, Harbeck said. “And if you’re a developer, what more would you like than to have no requirements whatsoever (for density),” he said. “I think (city council members) finally recognized that it


was being abused.” Ardmore, a three-story project on 17th Street in Wilmington, is an example of a smaller mixeduse development. Construction is underway on the structure, which will include about 1,700 square feet of commercial space and 25 residential units. “For the most part, we’ve avoided including mixed use because the building code requirements between residential uses and commercial uses add cost to the project,” said David Spetrino, president of PBC Design + Build. Another proposed major mixeduse redevelopment that has moved forward recently is Project Grace, which would be a public-private partnership between Wilmingtonbased Zimmer Development Co. (ZDC) and New Hanover County. The proposed $107 million redevelopment would transform a 3-acre, county-owned block in downtown Wilmington, bordered by Grace, Third, Chestnut and Second streets, into a modern mixed-use project with public and private facilities. In the proposed Memorandum of Understanding created by Zimmer, the project could include a new public library, a new location for the Cape Fear Museum and 75,000 square feet of city offices. The private portion, said Adam Tucker, director of development for ZDC, might include apartments and potentially some retail components. ZDC has mixed-use projects throughout the county, including in Tallahassee, Florida; Columbus, Ohio; and Richmond, Virginia. It’s planning a 40-story building in Raleigh that would have commercial space on the bottom. And Zimmer was one of the developers of Mayfaire, which has been one of Wilmington’s most successful examples of a mixed-use project. “I think it was ahead of the curve. For Wilmington, for the most part, there wasn’t really anywhere else in

town. There were plenty of examples throughout the state, in Raleigh with North Hills, Southpoint in Durham and Charlotte has multiple developments that it was modeled after,” Tucker said. “I think that the planning that went into it, and the location being somewhat close to the beach and having the ability to find that much land available within striking distance of everywhere in town helped make it a success. Landon Zimmer, managing partner of ZDC, said, “The top retailers still, it appears to us, prefer there versus any other location.” When it comes to Project Grace, ZDC had entered into public-private partnerships with universities before but not with a county or municipal entity. “Given the fact that it was in our backyard, and we’re located downtown, and of course, the Zimmer family is in its third generation here, we felt like we were a good fit to at least throw our name in the hat,” Tucker said. “And we actually ended up getting selected, which we were thrilled about.” As of press time, New Hanover County officials were set to consider the MOU for Project Grace on March 15. When it comes to mixed-use in general, Tucker said requiring certain percentages for a project has its place to some degree, “because a lot of mixed-use codes will say 25% of the use has to be commercial or 25% has to be residential. So I do think that there is a balance on that because people will try to skirt the system and … build 500 units and put 1,000 square feet of retail or a kiosk in the bottom and call it mixed-use. “So I do think that there needs to be some balance between the uses in order to make it work,” he added. “Exactly what those numbers are, I don’t think anybody knows, or everybody would do the same thing. But I do think that there is merit to balancing the uses and ensuring that you do get proper mixes.”

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PROJECTS UPDATE

HERE IS THE STATUS OF SEVERAL OTHER MAJOR MIXED-USE PROJECTS PENDING IN NEW HANOVER COUNTY.

NORTHERN GATEWAY T HE NORTHERN GATEWAY PROJECT PLANNED FOR

DOWNTOWN WILMINGTON HAS STALLED. CITY OFFICIALS HAVE SAID THE $90 MILLION PUBLICPRIVATE PARTNERSHIP WOULD HAVE TO WAIT AS THEY RESPONDED TO THE HEALTH AND FINANCIAL CRISES BROUGHT ABOUT BY COVID-19. CHAPEL HILL-BASED EAST WEST PARTNERS HAS PROPOSED BUILDING RESIDENTIAL UNITS, RETAIL SPACE, A HOTEL, A VISITORS CENTER AND PARKING ON SEVERAL CITY-OWNED PROPERTIES ON NORTH FRONT AND THIRD STREETS.

CENTERPOINT I N 2017, SWAIN & ASSOCIATES DEVELOPERS

ANNOUNCED PLANS FOR CENTERPOINT, A $250 MILLION MIXED-USE DEVELOPMENT ON EASTWOOD AND MILITARY CUTOFF ROADS IN WILMINGTON THAT WOULD INCLUDE A HOTEL, AN OFFICE BUILDING WITH A PARKING DECK, APARTMENTS WITH A PARKING DECK, RESTAURANTS AND STORES. CENTERPOINT’S CONSTRUCTION IS WAITING FOR THE N.C. DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION TO START PROJECTS FOR MILITARY CUTOFF AND EASTWOOD ROADS. MEANWHILE, THE NCDOT IS FACING ITS OWN DELAYS AND FUNDING ISSUES.

THE AVENUE P LANS FOR THE AVENUE, A MORE-THAN-$200

MILLION DEVELOPMENT TO BE BUILT ON MILITARY CUTOFF ROAD IN WILMINGTON, ARE PROCEEDING BUT COULD INCLUDE SOME CHANGES, PARTICULARLY TO WHAT GETS BUILT FIRST, AS A RESULT OF COVID-19. ROY CARROLL, OWNER OF THE AVENUE DEVELOPMENT FIRM THE CARROLL COMPANIES, SAID THAT CONSTRUCTION ON THE DEVELOPMENT’S ANCHOR, A WESTIN HOTEL, WILL LIKELY BE DELAYED AS A RESULT OF THE PANDEMIC-CAUSED SLOWDOWN IN THE HOSPITALITY INDUSTRY. ANOTHER POTENTIAL CHANGE IS THE AMOUNT OF RETAIL SPACE PLANNED FOR THE FIRST FLOOR OF SOME MIXEDUSE BUILDINGS THAT INCLUDE APARTMENTS.

GOVERNMENT CENTER REDEVELOPMENT A $120 MILLION PROJECT WILL TRANSFORM THE

SITE OF THE NEW HANOVER COUNTY GOVERNMENT CENTER. THE REVAMPED PROPERTY IS EXPECTED TO HOLD A NEW FACILITY FOR COUNTY OFFICES, INCLUDING AN EXPANDED EMERGENCY OPERATIONS AND 911 CENTER, AND COMMERCIAL AND RESIDENTIAL SPACE. CONSTRUCTION IS EXPECTED TO BEGIN IN MARCH.

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OUR REAL ESTATE DEPARTMENT: GROWING TO BETTER SERVE YOU DEPARTMENT PRACTICE AREAS:

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Real Estate Development Land Use & Zoning Planned Communities Coastal Development/Marinas

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Real Estate Disputes Agribusiness Title & Due Diligence Land Sales Compliance

Frances Y. Trask (Of Counsel)

Caleb M. Rash

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WORK

LIFE BY JOHANNA CANO

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PHOTOS BY MEGAN DEITZ

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arly wake-up alarms used to give many office workers enough time to get ready, drop kids off at school and head to the office. After greeting the office pet and saying “good morning” to coworkers, many would sip coffee while checking emails and getting ready for a meeting. That all ended suddenly for workers as many offices closed last year during the COVID-19 pandemic. This changed where and how many workers operate. And while some may be back to some form of normalcy, others are still relying on their home offices, dining tables, laptops and more recently, coworking spaces, to get things done. With COVID-19 protocols, some workplaces are seeing a fraction of their usual traffic and others may

have gone completely remote. Take California-based software company Salesforce.com Inc. Its leadership team prophetically announced earlier this year that the “9-to-5 workday is dead” and that workers may now choose to work remotely permanently. Even before the pandemic, though, a new take on the office space known as coworking spaces started sprouting in big cities in the U.S., from WeWork to Venture X. And in the past few years, cities such as Wilmington, Charlotte and Raleigh have also experienced their share of the rise in these spaces.

A SENSE OF COMMUNITY

Coworking spaces are filling a need for those who miss the structure and sense of community gained from a work office, said Aaron Ellis, Wilmington community manager for Dallas-based Common Desk. The space, which opened Jan. 18 in downtown Wilmington, joined

Coworking space Common Desk opened in downtown Wilmington in January.

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other dedicated coworking spaces in the city, including Blue Mind Coworking, tekMountain, Genesis Block and Coworx. A smaller, growing city like Wilmington was the right spot for a new Common Desk location, Ellis said. “We were looking for a market that wasn’t too enormous that we could come in and actually be noticed,” Ellis said about opening in Wilmington. “You drop something like this in middle of San Francisco, and you’re sort of white noise. This downtown area has a local, Southern hospitality-type feel, and that’s who we are.” The coworking space, at 226 N. Front St., is located on all three floors of the historical Gaylord Building, totaling 22,000 square feet. The space, empty since the 1980s, underwent an extensive renovation by Monteith Construction Corp. that included gutting the building.


The modernized building, complete with a coffee shop, preserved many aspects of the historical building including its brick walls and repurposed pine floor joists. With 35 private offices, 15,000 square feet of common space, four large suites and amenities, Common Desk hopes to attract a diverse group of members who seek to be productive and most of all, a sense of community. “We have found that so many people are craving some sort of rhythm in their life for work. Working from home was fun for about the first month and then the reality of it kicked in,” Ellis said. “I think a lot of people didn’t realize how important work community was to them until they didn’t have it anymore.” So far, the space has gotten a strong reception. As of mid-February, 17 of its 35 offices had been leased. Its private offices were about 31% full, and it had garnered 55 members.

‘THE NETWORKING AND THE INTERACTION’

Another new coworking space that also seeks to tap into the need for a collective workplace is Blue Mind. With a slated opening in April at 301 Government Center Drive, founders Michael and Julie Donlon wanted to provide a collaborative space that promotes business growth. With the temporary physical closure of tekMountain due to COVID, the Donlons wanted to create a similar space to serve individuals, solopreneurs and small teams, but also the community. “Our larger mission is for the space to foster innovation and business growth, which creates more jobs and keeps talented entrepreneurs and small businesses local,” Michael Donlon said. Blue Mind provides dedicated desks, private offices, conference rooms and meeting and event spaces. Memberships are provided monthly and include amenities. Michael Donlon said they want to focus on using local providers for the space, from the software it uses to the coffee to the art decorating the space. The pandemic accelerated many

Blue Mind founders Michael and Julie Donlon wanted to open a space that fosters businesses’ growth.

employers’ experiments in remote working, Michael Donlon said. “I think a lot of employers were a little reticent to do (remote working) just because of loss of control or what have you, but what they are finding is that their employees remain productive and stepped up to the challenge,” he said. “I think the trend was headed that way. This just accelerated the speed that we got there.” While there are a lot of pluses in remote working, one thing that people start to miss is human interaction, he said. “When people come into Blue Mind, they certainly ask about the space and the capabilities, but invariably, they ask about the networking and the interaction,” he said. “It’s not just a coworking space. It’s an opportunity for networking with like-minded professionals and sharing ideas and challenges.” Wilmington has started to see coworking locations popping up because people have realized that now they can work anywhere, he said. “People can work remotely; they’re not tethered to a company headquarters in the city where they have to work,” Michael Donlon said. “Now they can say, ‘Hey, I can work remotely. Where would I want to live? Let’s live by the beach.’”

WHAT’S NORMAL ANYMORE?

As coworking spaces start to accommodate remote workers in a new office model, many traditional office

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spaces have started adopting a new model as well. Copycat Print Shop in Wilmington has 10 employees all working on-site. The company, however, has created and used a mitigation plan for COVID-19 scares that includes working remotely, rotating shifts and separating workers at different ends of its office. Along with air purifiers, the office space has installed acrylic shields along its front counter and dividers between workers, among other measures. When asked if the office might ever go back to “normal,” Copycat Owner Betsy Kahn said, “Normal … what’s normal anymore? Hard to predict what the future holds. Once everyone has received their vaccinations, perhaps we will relax the mask requirement.”

EVOLUTION OF WORKPLACES

The outlook for how office spaces should look and operate is a focus for Adam Segal, CEO and co-founder of Cove, a Washington, D.C.-based technology firm. Cove seeks to help companies organize and operate their offices. That includes providing “a techenabled experience that puts the day in the users’ hands. We have taken our years of building spaces and tech to now partner with owners of office and residential buildings to create a differentiated, user-driven experience,” Segal said. Society is currently experiencing the evolution of work, he said.

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The return of common spaces shown at Common Desk

remote work.” Post-pandemic, offices will still be around; they will just look different. Offices will shrink and no longer revolve around dedicated desks, Segal predicted. Instead, the office will be the spot that brings people together and includes a mix of remote work and in-office. “The future of office design will ultimately be behavior-based with a more efficient use of space,” he said. “More than likely, most companies will evolve away from one person per one desk. In place of that, you will have a far more dynamic work experience that requires only you and your laptop.”

OFFICES IN THE AREA

“The COVID-19 pandemic has expedited many trends that were already happening. Prior to the pandemic, most companies already had work-from-home policies in place,” Segal said. “Now and moving forward, those policies will be key to how companies operate and utilize the office. For some companies, this will mean the end to the central office. For others, it will be reimagining how they use their offices in tandem with

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From a local perspective, Parker Anderson, co-developer at Wilmington-based SAMM Properties Inc., said the local demand for office space has not slowed down. “We have more requests now for new product than we have in the past year, especially in areas such as Brunswick County and the northern part of New Hanover County, both areas we are currently planning new projects,” Anderson said. “In addition to planning new projects in Wilmington, we are still moving forward with our pre-COVID office

M A G A Z I N E

projects in the Triangle area.” The office and retail commercial real estate contracting firm worked on The Offices at Mayfaire and Offices at Airlie, among other projects. The outlook for the Wilmington office market will continue to be promising due to vaccinations becoming more widely available and people experiencing “Zoom fatigue,” he said. “A great example of people feeling confident in navigating their postCOVID plans is that at Bradley Creek Station, we have put 28,400 square feet under contract amongst four different users in the past six weeks,” Anderson said in February. “That is a significant number of space to put under contract in that timeframe even during times when COVID was nonexistent.” Anderson believes this is an indicator that people are starting to plan for life going back to a new normal in the coming months. The pandemic and increase in remote working will, however, create some changes moving forward. “We think the biggest change you will see as a result of COVID is companies are going to be more aware and sensitive to not overcrowd their offices, which will result in companies occupying a larger footprint to accommodate the same number of employees but being able to give everyone adequate space,” he said. In addition, the layout of offices may also shift, according to Segal. “The office will be divided into places to work based on what you are doing – reservable call boxes for calls, conference spaces for meeting rooms, quiet rooms for heads-down work and open spaces for social work and meetings,” Segal said. Technology will be key to creating a new office space. “The way people work has evolved. Commercial offices will need to evolve as well and in doing so change the narrative around the office as it fits into the future of work,” Segal said. “This will start with making the office building a differentiated, techdriven experience – an experience that you cannot get at home.”


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PROFILE

ROOM SERVICE BY CECE NUNN

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PROFILE

Project chief tackles multiple roles for hotel, dental office developer

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hat Gale Wallace loves most about her job at Wilmingtonbased Clarendon Properties is watching a project come to fruition. Wallace, who has worked in a variety of roles in the commercial real estate industry, serves as director of project management for Clarendon, a development firm that has specialized in hotels and dental offices in North and South Carolina. “That’s really, I think, the most rewarding thing that I do, watching that process from start to finish, and it’s a lengthy process. It’s every bit of two years, sometimes longer,” Wallace said. For hotels, development starts with finding a piece of property and matching it with a brand. Clarendon has mainly worked with Hilton, Marriott and Holiday Inn Express hotels, a brand that belongs to InterContinental Hotels Group, said John Sandlin, president and founder of Clarendon Properties. The firm’s pipeline currently holds 12 hotels at various stages of development, including a Holiday Inn Express in Porters Neck that is scheduled to open at the end of March. “We get to touch everything,” Wallace said about the intricate development process. “We deal with the brands on getting our designs approved. We purchase all of the furniture that goes into the hotel. We coordinate all the deliveries, all the installation of that. We purchase all the kitchen equipment … we take on w i l m i n g t o n b i z m a g a z i n e . c o m

a far greater role than some other development companies do. “I think that’s what makes it as much fun as it is because we do get to touch a lot of different things.” Wallace began her foray into the real estate industry by graduating with an interior design degree from Western Michigan University. She spent nearly two decades in property management in Michigan and Ohio. After graduation, she worked for a company developing apartments in the Detroit area; then after moving to Ohio, worked for a commercial property management firm. “I managed about a millionand-a-half square feet and between 1,000 or 2,000 apartments in many different states,” Wallace said. Eventually, she and her family, which includes her husband and son, moved to Wilmington. “I thought I would do property management here,” Wallace said. “But there just was not an opportunity at the time when we came here, which was late 2003.” Instead, she worked for a residential developer before joining Clarendon Properties in 2012. This year, Wallace is serving as president of the Cape Fear chapter of Commercial Real Estate Women. The local chapter, founded in 2010, has 65 members. A study the national CREW organization conducts every five years most recently showed that women occupy 36.7% of the commercial real estate industry. It appears to be smaller, Wallace said, in the commercial development and commercial brokerage sectors. For Cape Fear CREW, which is scheduled in April to hold its Awards of Excellence honoring real estate accomplishments, Wallace’s goal centers around the word “engage,” she said. “We want to make sure that we can successfully keep our members and our partners engaged during this time,” Wallace said, referring to the COVID-19 pandemic and remaining restrictions on large get-togethers. 2 0 2 1

“We try and offer virtual options but not to the extreme where that’s all that you have,” Wallace said. In addition to Cape Fear CREW, Wallace is a member of the Institute of Real Estate Management and has maintained her certified property management designation. She also holds a North Carolina broker’s license. Her experience with different facets of the real estate industry made her an ideal hire for Clarendon Properties, said founder Sandlin. And that hire has led to results. “I do give Gale so much credit in its success,” Sandlin said of his company. “I can almost go so far as to say it wouldn’t have been as successful without her. … She’s one of the most competent people I’ve ever dealt with.” That extends to professional relationships, he said. “In our business, investors are the key to everything, and she’s loved by all the investors,” Sandlin said. “She caters to them, she treats them well, and she does a great job.” He said he and Wallace were the only employees at the beginning of Clarendon’s journey. “I think she welcomed the challenge. I think she embraced it from the outset, and she enhanced it and she performed very well,” Sandlin said. “I think it gave her the opportunity to really do what she wanted to do and to use her talents on many levels.” Clarendon continues to grow, with a fifth employee added at the end of 2020. “It truly is a success story for a small entrepreneur to come and be able to do what we do and build the reputation that we’ve been able to build amongst investment groups, amongst lenders and the hotel brands,” Wallace said. “I think that speaks volumes for and continues to allow us the ability to do what we truly enjoy doing because we’ve been able to build a strong reputation.” R

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ommercial real estate suffered some setbacks as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, but remains a significant player in the local market. Brokers and other industry professionals say some sectors are doing extremely well, despite COVID-19, and major projects in the form of public-private partnerships have been moving forward. BY CECE NUNN

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P3S MAKE HEADWAY

INDUSTRIAL STEAM

Just as completion neared this year for the 13-story mixed-use project River Place, a city public-private partnership (P3), New Hanover County was moving forward on two P3s. Construction was set to begin in March on the $120 million redevelopment of the county government center property off South College Road in Wilmington. That’s after the New Hanover County Board of Commissioners approved a revised development agreement related to the project’s financing. Developer Cape Fear Stonewater FD plans to build commercial and residential space, while also managing the construction of new county offices. In addition, county officials were expected as of press time to hold a public hearing March 15 on a proposed Memorandum of Understanding for a public-private partnership between the county and Wilmington-based Zimmer Development Co. The proposed $107 million Project Grace would transform a 3-acre, county-owned block in downtown Wilmington, bordered by Grace, Third, Chestnut and Second streets, into a modern mixed-use project with public and private facilities.

M A G A Z I N E

Commercial real estate brokers say one of the hottest sectors is the industrial market. The flex space vacancy percentage “is in the low single digits, and we are seeing tremendous demand from larger industrial users,” said Brian Eckel, GHK Cape Fear Development partner and co-founder of Wilmington-based commercial real estate firm Cape Fear Commercial. “I am extremely confident we will see a continued push for last-mile logistics facilities as e-commerce continues to surge.” A development team is working on an $8.5 million industrial building in the International Logistics Park of North Carolina, one of two megasites near the Brunswick and Columbus county line. The International Commerce Center, a spec building, will be the first development in the International Logistics Park, and could be delivered as soon as the second quarter of 2021. (To find out more about the industrial market, read a column by local economic development leader Bill Early on page 10; to read a profile of Cape Fear Commercial, see page 38.)


TRENDS

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RETAIL WOES

A RETAIL HIGH

INVESTMENT PROPERTIES

The retail market was in a state of flux before the coronavirus pandemic kept people at home. But COVID-19 sped up the demise of some national retailers, leaving some larger empty storefronts. A few that had locations in the Wilmington area that closed last year include Pier 1; clothing store Stein Mart; and children’s retailer Justice. “More national retailers and restaurants will close,” said Hansen Matthews, partner in Wilmington-based commercial real estate firm Maus, Warwick, Matthews & Co. “I’d like to think that we’ve seen the worst of the carnage and we may have but we haven’t seen all of it.” Local commercial real estate appraiser Cal Morgan, owner of JC Morgan Co., said that at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, many of the national retailers stopped paying rent or were paying a reduced rent. “I believe most have resumed paying rent or a portion of their preCOVID rent. As far as the local retailers, I have observed several landlords and tenants working together to get through the pandemic,” Morgan said. He said based on what his company has seen, the tenants that have survived COVID are either past their rent deferrals or currently working through them.

Some retailers aren’t expected to close their doors anytime soon, having seen a bump in business because of COVID-19. With the arrival of the pandemic came a nationwide phenomenon: people started spending time exercising and sharing activities with each other … outside. Bicycles, for example, quickly became a hot commodity. “Any bicycle store that’s really open is selling everything they have or can get their hands on,” said Two Wheeler Dealer owner Jim Mincher of Wilmington, during the summer of 2020. “There’s a severe shortage of bicycles in this country.” In June 2020, bicycle sales were up 63% over the previous year, according to analytics firm The NPD Group. Ongoing shortages are resulting in fewer sales as people continue to seek bicycles. Diane Hodapp, owner of Shore Break Bikes in Wilmington, said, “It seems like it’s leveling off, but that opinion is also based on the fact that there will be a bike shortage for at least another year.”

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Income-producing properties are currently extremely popular, said Matthews. “There’s a tremendous demand for income properties of any type, whether it’s apartments, office buildings, industrial,” he said. In one example of a major local investment, the Yelverton family bought The Villages at Brunswick Forest, excluding some outparcels, for $16.8 million in December from entities managed by Lord Baltimore Capital Partners LLC. The Villages at Brunswick Forest is situated in front of Leland’s Brunswick Forest master-planned community in northern Brunswick County. The Yelvertons, who have homes in New Hanover County and Raleigh, have been in the real estate business for more than 50 years, said George Yelverton, but this is the first time they’ve owned a shopping center as an investment. They bought the property as part of a 1031 exchange after selling Cameron Hills Apartments in Raleigh. The center, anchored by a Lowes Foods grocery store, is 100% occupied. Morgan said demand for local noninvestment grade income-producing property, typically consisting of local, small-business tenants, is also extremely strong.

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TEAM WORK 38

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H o m e g r ow n f ir m e x pa n d s its sales, development p o rt f o l i o B Y T ERES A M C L A M B P HOT O B Y S T E P H A NI E S AVAS P H O T O GR A P HY

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heir early years in real estate took Brian Eckel to Atlanta and Vin Wells to Florida, but the Wilmington natives found themselves thinking of home. “Both of us wanted to return home,” Eckel said. They started talking about a possible joint venture and return as early as 1998, Wells said. Despite a bit of concern about the size of Wilmington’s market compared to their current positions, “we ultimately decided this is what we wanted to do. We took a leap of faith,” Wells said. “We literally opened the company in my living room on Sept. 11, 2001.” Today the two, along with broker in charge Paul Loukas, manage a team of 33 people – brokers, property managers and marketing professionals at Cape Fear Commercial. Their management portfolio includes office, medical, retail and industrial space primarily in the Wilmington region. From their initial brokerage services they’ve branched into development of commercial, industrial and mixed-use properties. Eckel credits their success to the team. “We have a collaborative team environment with an open-door policy. We believe our people are the most talented commercial real estate professionals providing us the highest quality of market expertise. We work extremely hard, but we have a ton of fun while we do it,” Eckel said. Wells echoed his thoughts. “We’re like-minded, driven, and we enjoy what we do.” CFC has been in the news recently with the announcement that it will handle New Hanover County’s government complex redevelopment project. The plan includes 130,000 square feet of office space including 25,000 square feet for a Category 5 hurricane-fortified emergency center and 911 call center. Seeking the least disruption of county workers, the new construction will be built in the existing parking lot. Groundbreaking is expected in March. Employees will continue to

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PROFILE

work in their current building. When new construction is complete, the 1989 former mall will be demolished. Also included in the project is a mixed-use development of 280 apartments, a large park, 20,000 square feet of commercial space, a mix of hardscapes and multi-purpose open space, Eckel explained. “It’s been about a year-and-a-half we’ve been working on it so we’re excited to break ground.” Eckel said that the county will retain ownership of the office building. “We are purchasing the remainder of the land for the mixed-use portion.” The company is well positioned to take on such a project. Since opening, it has developed 26 Walgreens throughout the Carolinas, five Publix groceries including one in Wilmington and one in Carolina Beach, dozens of Class A and medical office buildings, and selfstorage. CFC is currently constructing two commercial buildings at Autumn Hall. “We’re moving our office over to Autumn Hall,” Eckel said. “We’ve outgrown our space.” They have more than 1,000 apartment units under development and see another 1,000 on the horizon. They also have housing projects at Echo Farms: 176 units that were recently completed for Woodlands Landing Townhomes and Riverwood, a 208-unit development for which construction is expected to start this quarter. Eckel noted that the office market is steady. Despite a move toward remote work due to COVID, they see 90% occupancy in most of their offices. “You don’t want to underestimate face-to-face interaction. We believe the office market will come back strong,” Eckel said. “I think a collaborative environment makes a big difference for businesses,” Wells added. “One of the hottest sectors now is industrial,” Eckel noted. He expects more speculative projects. CFC is working as leasing agent for Chris Ramm of Ramm Commercial Properties LLC of WinstonSalem, on a spec 125,000-square-foot 2 0 2 1

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industrial space in Pender County. Ramm owns several area properties. Their work together illustrates the team approach CFC embraces. “Chris is a good example where he has probably touched six to nine members of our team: investment sales to property management to leasing to the new industrial as well as our maintenance staff,” Eckel said. “They do our property management and leasing and represent us when we’re acquiring properties,” Ramm said. “They’re very entwined with our business representing us. They do the leasing for our office and industrial. On the brokerage side, they represent us when we’re acquiring new properties. They have local market knowledge; they bring me deals. I trust them explicitly, and we have a good working relationship.” CFC has also taken on management of shopping centers including the Lowes Foods anchoredcenter at Brunswick Forest. The alphabet soup that crops up around CFC could be confusing; each development or project is managed under a separate LLC all representing the development arm of CFC known as GHK Cape Fear Development. The government complex is being developed under Cape Fear FD Stonewater LLC. Working in multiple municipalities and counties has its challenges, but they note they strive to keep solid relationships with government agencies and depend on the expertise and assistance of advocacy group Business Alliance for a Sound Economy. As they enter their 20th year in business, the pair notes the huge change in the region’s multifamily market, especially since CFC developed Headwaters at Autumn Hall in 2012. Eckel said, “Obviously we’ve experienced a tremendous apartment boom in Wilmington and nationally. We have no doubt this region will continue to grow so we see a positive outlook for multifamily.”


M A R K E T SNAPSHOT

MARKET SNAPSHOT

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TOP10 C O M M E R C I A L S A L E S o f 2 0 2 0 BELLE MEADE APARTMENTS

ADDRESS

PRICE

BUYER

1109 MATTEO DRIVE

$54,000,000

SOUTHWOOD REALTY

BELLE MEADE DEVELOPMENT PARTNERS LLC AND BELLE MEADE DEVELOPMENT PARTNERS II LLC

2

HAWTHORNE AT INDY WEST APARTMENTS

3938 INDEPENDENCE BLVD.

$53,250,000

HM CLAIRMONT INDY LLC ETAL

WF INDEPENDENCE BOULEVARD LLC

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ONE MIDTOWN APARTMENT HOMES

2910-2911 MIDTOWN WAY

$45,500,000

STRATA MIDTOWN LLC

ROLLING HILLS APARTMENTS LLC

511 COBBLESTONE DRIVE

$38,000,000

ABBOTS RUN WILMINGTON LLC

WILMINGTON AR HOUSING LLC

4901 RANDALL PARKWAY

$36,500,000

FRIEDLAM PARTNERS

PINEWOOD LLC ETAL

2532 CONFEDERATE DRIVE

$34,500,000

MONARCH INVESTMENT & MANAGEMENT GROUP

BEDROCK HOLDINGS II LLC

4955 PEPYS LANE

$27,000,000

OC VENTURES

COASTAL RIDGE REAL ESTATE

1018 LAKE PARK BLVD N., CAROLINA BEACH

$21,759,500

PUBLIX SUPER MARKETS

CAROLINA BEACH DEVELOPMENT CO 1 LLC

2239 WRIGHTSVILLE AVE.

$18,000,000

MONARCH INVESTMENT & MANAGEMENT GROUP

BEDROCK HOLDINGS II LLC

603 PLUM NEARLY LANE

$17,750,000

ESKAY MANAGEMENT

34 NORTH APTS LLC

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PROPERTY

ABBOTS RUN APARTMENTS

HARBOR STATION TOWNHOMES FOREST HILLS APARTMENTS LIGHTHOUSE APARTMENTS

PUBLIX SHOPPING CENTER & UNUSED LAND THE CREEK AT FOREST HILLS 34 NORTH APARTMENTS

SELLER

SOURCES: NEW HANOVER COUNTY TAX DEPARTMENT AND REGISTER OF DEEDS; GREATER WILMINGTON BUSINESS JOURNAL

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OFFICE SPACE

LARGEST EXISTING

MARKET SNAPSHOT

BY SUBMARKET

1

MARKET

RBA*

MARKET RENT PER SQFT

HOSPITAL/INDEPENDENCE

2,631,000

$20.72

DOWNTOWN

2,135,000

$21.66

MIDTOWN

2,074,000

$18.60

LANDFALL

1,847,000

$25.21

CASTLE HAYNE

1,482,000

$19.10

MARKET STREET CORRIDOR

451,000

$15.65

AIRPORT

364,000

$17.15

EAST PENDER COUNTY

360,000

$19.85

MONKEY JUNCTION

291,000

$23.26

OGDEN/PORTERS NECK

276,000

$22.59

PORT

262,000

$16.83

WEST PENDER COUNTY

257,000

$20.24

CAROLINA BEACH

92,000

$19.62

WRIGHTSVILLE BEACH

79,000

$23.68

NEW HANOVER OUTLYING

28,000

$18.81

2 3 4 5 6

TOP15

7 8 9

10 11 12 13 14 15

* Total Rentable Building Area in square feet

SOURCE: COSTAR PROPERTY YEAR-END 2020 REPORT

FOR ALL OF YOUR COMMERCIAL REAL ESTATE NEEDS IN BRUNSWICK COUNTY

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CHRIS BRYAN

(910) 612-2007 wayne@waynedurham.com

(910) 443-1189 chris.byran@cbsloane.com

(910) 579-1808 | (877) 369-5777 www.sloanecommercial.com 790-1 Sunset Blvd. N. Sunset Beach, NC 28468

PREMIUM MEMBER

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* A selection, but not all, ranked by size

SELECT INDUSTRIAL LEASES*

MARKET SNAPSHOT

1 2 3 4 5

2020

6 7 8 9

10 11 12 13

SOURCE: COSTAR WILMINGTON INDUSTRIAL REPORT AS OF FEB. 4, 2021

14 15

COMPANY

ADDRESS (MARKET)

SIZE (sq ft)

OUTDOOR EQUIPPED*

312 RALEIGH ST., WILMINGTON

36,939

PODS*

1830 CARVER DRIVE, WEST PENDER CO.

34,000

CAPE FEAR IRON WORKS

3965 BLUE CLAY ROAD, CASTLE HAYNE

30,000

FILMWERKS LLC

1830 CARVER DRIVE, WEST PENDER CO.

20,550

HABITAT FOR HUMANITY

3310 FREDRICKSON ROAD, NEW HANOVER CO.

18,000

PLUTO LABS LLC

3132 KITTY HAWK ROAD, AIRPORT

15,100

WEST SHORE HOME

3405 MERCHANT COURT, AIRPORT

11,500

PARTY ON DESIGNS

2958 N. KERR AVENUE, AIRPORT

10,100

LASS PROPS

210 CROWATAN ROAD, CASTLE HAYNE

10,000

SOUND HEAVY MACHINERY

1805 BLUE CLAY ROAD, AIRPORT

10,000

AMERICAN SKIN

1832 CARVER DRIVE, WEST PENDER CO.

8,119

CHADSWORTH INC.

420 RALEIGH ST., WILMINGTON

6,000

PARTY SUPPLIERS & RENTALS

3864 U.S. 421 N., NEW HANOVER CO.

5,812

SOUND HEAVY MACHINERY

1809 BLUE CLAY ROAD, AIRPORT

5,800

VALIANT RESTORATION

3871-3879 U.S. 421 N., NEW HANOVER CO.

5,600 * LEASE RENEWAL

SERVING BUSINESS AND CONSTRUCTION PROFESSIONALS IN NORTH AND SOUTH CAROLINA • Litigation • Construction Disputes • Mediation/Arbitration/Collaborative Law • Real Estate Development and Zoning • Eminent Domain and Land Condemnation • Licensing Disputes • Contract Drafting • Real Estate Litigation • Municipal Law • Liens

Jessica Soles Humphries Attorney at Law

Nicole B. Slaughter Attorney at Law

Mark Hamlet Attorney at Law

2021 N.C. Super Lawyer, Construction Litigation

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Christopher E. Faircloth Attorney at Law

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Sarah E. Morin-Gage Attorney at Law

Kelly M. Barco Attorney at Law

(910) 777-5995 | www.hamletandassociates.com 5215 Junction Park Circle, Suite 202, Wilmington, NC 28412

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RESTAURANT R O U ND U P

RESTAURANT ROUNDUP

EXPANDING

IDEA

BY JESSICA MAURER | PHOTO BY STEPHANIE SAVAS PHOTOGRAPHY

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Barista Trevor Jefferson with Bitty & Beau’s co-founders Amy and Ben Wright


J

UST A WEEK AFTER CELEBRATING BITTY & BEAU’S FIFTH ANNIVERSARY, MATT DEAN IS ALREADY THINKING AHEAD TO THE NEXT FIVE YEARS.

He envisions Bitty & Beau’s having locations in Japan and Hawaii, two locations he’d gladly help establish. Dean, who was among the first employees hired, serves as the company’s director of first impressions and is tasked with setting the bar for customer service among his fellow employees. But Dean does not think of his co-workers as such; he thinks of them as family. “Bitty & Beau’s feels like a second family to me,” Dean said. “This job has changed my life.” Dean is one of 120 employees with intellectual and developmental disabilities who work for Bitty & Beau’s Coffee’s four corporate locations. Founders Amy and Ben Wright set out not only to provide job opportunities for a community that’s severely underrepresented in the workforce but to change perceptions about their potential. In just five years they have grown from a 500-square-foot building on Wrightsville Avenue to a 5,000 square-foot headquarters on New Centre Drive, with additional locations in Charleston, Savannah and Annapolis. With franchise agreements for numerous new locations set to open this year in cities such as Charlotte, Washington, D.C., and Boston, the company expects to double its number of employees by year’s end. “By the time we were six months old, we had gotten so much interest from people wanting to be a part of bringing us to their city that we decided to franchise,” Amy Wright said. “We started to take hundreds of applications, not knowing that we didn’t yet have our systems in place to do so.”

RESTAURANT ROUNDUP

She said it wasn’t until the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, when all their stores were closed, that she and Ben had the time to put together a solid franchise plan. Having opened four stores by the start of 2020, and with hundreds of inquiries still pouring in, the Wrights felt confident that despite the pandemic, they were ready to move forward with this next phase. “There’s this vision, and there’s momentum behind it,” Amy Wright said. “And we wanted to create more jobs and more places where people can have this transformative experience. Now that our systems are in place, we feel confident that we can teach other people how to do this. We feel very fortunate that during what was a very dark 2020, we were able to use that time to think and to prepare for what we wanted to happen in 2021.” While the Wrights say their model will work anywhere, they’re looking for markets that are destinations – where the shop itself becomes a part of the experience of visiting that city. “This is such a dire epidemic in our country, that these individuals are so underutilized and don’t have the same opportunities as everyone else,” Amy Wright said. “We have a vehicle here for changing that, so our focus is on how we can continue to use the momentum that’s already built up over the past five years to reach more people.” The Wrights handle the vetting process for potential franchisees from start to finish, having made the decision not to utilize a franchise broker. It’s important to them that they make a personal connection with potential franchisees, even if it must initially be done virtually in light of the pandemic. Amy Wright said people have different reasons for wanting to open their own Bitty & Beau’s. Some have family members with a disability, while others simply want to be a part of the company’s mission. A background in coffee or retail is not essential, as Amy

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Wright admits, she learned along the way. If the passion and dedication are there, the rest can be learned. Amie and Vic Cennamo, of Charlotte, are the parents of an 18-year-old son with autism, as well as a 14-year-old daughter. They first learned of Bitty & Beau’s through social media and friends within the special needs community. They visited three locations last year, and when Bitty & Beau’s announced in August they would begin franchising, they felt it was perfect timing to open one in their hometown. “As our son approached highschool age, we worried about his future, especially given the grim facts about employment and those with disabilities,” Amie Cennamo said. “He’s now in his senior year, and we couldn’t think of anything we would be more passionate about because it’s something that our son can be a part of too.” The Cennamos said they’re excited to be among the first franchisees selected by the Wrights to represent and help grow the brand. “The response we have received from the community has been overwhelming and extremely exciting,” Amie Cennamo said. “We have heard from so many people that had hoped for Bitty & Beau’s to come to Charlotte and want to know how they can be involved or how they can support us. This is how we ultimately help the world see the value of people with disabilities, in the workplace and beyond.” As for Matt Dean, in addition to bringing Bitty & Beau’s to some of the places on his bucket list, he’s looking forward to the day when he can connect once again with his work family and customers with high fives, hugs and smiles not hidden by masks. For more restaurant news, sign up for the Business Journal’s weekly Restaurant Roundup email by going to WilmingtonBiz.com. 2 0 2 1

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THE BEST JUST GOT BETTER Fountain Financial Associates is excited to welcome CAPTRUST to the Wilmington community Our professional team, office location, and phone number will remain the same, and we will continue to offer the same high-quality service you have come to expect from us. 1209 Culbreth Drive, Suite 100 | Wilmington, NC 28405 | 910.256.8882 captrust.com/wilmington AD20_007

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THE TAKEAWAY

FILM CREDIT

Cucalorus officials are weighing their options for fall events while offering creative programming now as COVID-19 restrictions begin easing. The 27th annual festival takes place Nov. 10-14, but the exact format is still being figured out. Anna Ray-Smith, programming coordinator (above), said the deadline for early-bird submissions of films this year is April 28, with the last-call deadline of June 23. Meanwhile, the Cucalorus Film Foundation, which recently received a $25,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, is planning for the Lumbee Film Festival in Pembroke in July and the Surfalorus Film Festival in the Outer Banks in September. photo by KEVIN KLEITCHES

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