WilmingtonBiz Magazine - 2022 Commercial Real Estate

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new on the scene

DEVELOPER MARIANA MOLINA BREAKS INTO WILMINGTON PROJECTS ALL EYES ON EAGLES ISLAND TECH FIRMS TAKE TO DOWNTOWN

Published by

Greater WWilmington G Published by

BUSINESS BUSINESS JOURNAL JOURNAL reater

ilmington

SPRING 2022


COMING SOON

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STEVE ANDERSON

Developer, SAMM Properties 910.616.0483 steve@sammproperties.com

PARKER ANDERSON

Developer, SAMM Properties 910.200.6614 parker@sammproperties.com

FOR MORE INFORMATION ABOUT OUR FUTURE PROJECTS, VISIT SAMMPROPERTIES.COM

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STEVE HALL Partner at Maus, Warwick, Matthews & Company Commercial Real Estate (910) 279-3227 SteveHall@mwmrealestate.com


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Find an Expert. RCASENC.com 2

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Commercial Leasing

Asset Management

Sales & Acquistions

Investment Properties

Real Estate Development


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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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RIVER VIEW TECH AT WORK COVER STORY: DEVELOPER'S JOURNEY REAL ESTATE TRENDS IN PROFILE: LANDON ZIMMER MARKET SNAPSHOT RESTAURANT ROUNDUP: BCC CULINARY SCHOOL

ON THE COVER

40 Photographer Michael Cline Spencer takes developer Marina Molina’s cover portrait inside the lobby of Aloft Wilmington at Coastline Center.

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LO O K I N G UP t o t h e

LETTER FROM THE EDITOR

clothes-minded

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’m certain that some people, maybe even many people, are skilled in the art of online shopping for clothing. I imagine they order stuff, try it on and if it doesn’t fit, they just send it back, no big deal. Seems simple enough. But I have no patience for it. Choosing clothing is a complicated process for me because of the usual issues – nothing fits, blah, blah, blah – but I muddle through. It wasn’t until my youngest daughter, 13-year-old Flannery, hit her tweens that I discovered what appeared to be a missing link in the retail clothing industry – apparel for girls that made sense during the middle school years. For a recent Greater Wilmington Business Journal story, I interviewed a mom who has created a business out of that missing piece – Isa Roe Boutique. The store is named after owner Britany Rivera’s daughter, Isabel, and her friend, Monroe. Rivera plans to open the shop at Mayfaire Town Center in Wilmington in April, catering to young teens who otherwise have a hard time finding clothes that are both age-appropriate and something they actually want to wear. “They’ve outgrown the sparkles, the unicorns, the rainbows,” Rivera said. “They want to wear clothes that are a little bit older, but their bodies don’t necessarily fit in women’s clothes.” Interestingly, Rivera is opening a storefront after finding success in selling girls apparel online. To Rivera and other moms, including me, shopping for clothing IRL can be a fun way to connect with tweens and teens. And although other establishments exist in the area and online for middle school girls to buy clothes, Rivera expects her business to help change the number of options they have. This year’s WilmingtonBiz Magazine Commercial Real Estate issue is all about change, as real estate so frequently is. Features include a look at what the future might hold for Eagles Island (page 20) and other parts of the west bank of the Cape Fear River

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in “The View Across the Way.” It’s a topic in the news lately as a developer plans a hotel there, while another riverfront property across from downtown Wilmington could also one day hold a hotel, apartments and condos. The issue also explores how office space has changed for some tech companies that have recently taken up residence in downtown Wilmington in “Office Space” (page 25). Profiles on Wilmington developers Mariana Molina (page 30) and Landon Zimmer (page 34) provide insight into the people who are transforming parts of the city. As for me, any transformation I make to my wardrobe will have to wait until well after this magazine goes to press. For now, I’ll take inspiration from Flannery and her sibling, 15-year-old Parker – who recently sported artfully ripped tights, shorts, a brightly colored pop culture T-shirt, handmade beaded jewelry and iridescent Doc Martens boots – because they always look cool.

CECE NUNN , ASSISTANT EDITOR/ REAL ESTATE REPORTER cnunn@wilmingtonbiz.com

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Wilmington B iz

CONTRIBUTORS

M A G A Z I N E

2 0 2 2 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 WILMA and the Greater Wilmington Business Journal, covering the local tech and startups beat. She graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill where she worked at The Daily Tar Heel and the News & Observer’s College Town NC online publication. Cano talks with several tech company officials who have set up shop in downtown Wilmington about office space (PAGE 25).

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 Johanna Cano

jcano@wilmingtonbiz.com

T. J . DRECHSEL T.J. DRECHSEL, of Drechsel Photography, is a Wilmingtonbased photographer whose work has been featured in publications that include WILMA, Greater Wilmington Business Journal, Wrightsville Beach Magazine and North Brunswick Magazine. He photographed Cape Fear Riverkeeper Kemp Burdette and NAACP North Carolina chapter president Deborah Dicks Maxwell (PAGE 20). tjdrechselphotography.com

Johanna F. Still jstill@wilmingtonbiz.com

Vice President

of

Carolyn Carver

Sales

ccarver@wilmingtonbiz.com

S e n i o r M a r k e t i n g C o n s u lta n t s Maggi Apel

mapel@wilmingtonbiz.com

Craig Snow csnow@wilmingtonbiz.com

M a r k e t i n g C o n s u lta n t s Courtney Barden

cbarden@wilmingtonbiz.com

S C O T T N U N N SCOTT NUNN is a Wilmington native and award-winning veteran journalist, spending nearly three decades at the StarNews. As a freelancer, he has reported for the Greater Wilmington Business Journal, Greater Fayetteville Business Journal and WHQR. Nunn talked to a range of people about their thoughts for the future of the land across from downtown Wilmington (PAGE 20).

MICHAEL C L I N E SPENCER MICHAEL CLINE SPENCER, owner of Michael Cline Photography, is a Wilmington-based freelance photojournalist who photographed developer Mariana Molina for the cover and her profile (PAGE 30), Zimmer managing partner Landon Zimmer (PAGE 34) and Sauce’d cocktail Takeaway photo (PAGE 43). He also took residential real estate portraits of Anne Gardner and Denise Kinney. michaelclinephoto.com

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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 pm e n t M a nag e r Sandy Johnson

sjohnson@wilmingtonbiz.com

Events Director Elizabeth Stelzenmuller

events@wilmingtonbiz.com

E v e n t s & D i g i ta l A s s i s ta n t Jamie Kleinman jkleinman@wilmingtonbiz.com

D e s i g n & M e d i a A s s i s ta n t Molly Jacques

production@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, Aris Harding, Michael Cline Spencer, Terah Hoobler

Subscribe

To subscribe to WilmingtonBiz Magazine,visit wilmingtonbiz.com/subscribe or call 343-8600 x201. © 2022 SAJ Media LLC


Meeting the Challenges of a Growing Community More than 127,000 people call Wilmington home but far more visit, work, and play in the city on any given day. As the population center for a fast-growing region, tens of thousands of residents from surrounding areas pass through Wilmington on a daily basis. That includes 55,000 who travel in for work, a multitude of tourists and convention goers, and all those who take advantage of the city’s healthcare, shopping, dining, and entertainment options.

T n in t SI tio tha V I s tina pit al ie s d e os nt o p a h co u A t and s 7 e NC ser v

BIGGER THAN YOU REALIZE

WORK

Pop. 127,000

Ar P s h egio L A op na Y e n pin l h u te r ta g , di b fo inm nin r en g, t

As a destination and regional hub, this activity places far more strain on Wilmington’s roads, infrastructure, and core services than the city’s population suggests. That’s why meeting the challenges of growth is a high priority for the City of Wilmington, with targeted investments to improve the infrastructure and services so heavily relied upon. Tens of thousands of cars travel into Wilmington every day to visit, work, and play, placing far more strain on city roads than a city of 127,000 residents.

Wilmington

55,000 travel in for work

MOVING IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION More traffic from our fast-growing region places more strain on Wilmington roads, but we’re taking steps to alleviate congestion and improve motorists’ experience. Here’s how: Advancing Transportation Projects: A number of projects are in the works to improve traffic flow and create alternative ways of getting around. We’re prioritizing projects that add multi-use paths, widen streets, and build sidewalks, and are working to finish them sooner. Enhancing Street Rehabilitation: The effects of thousands of cars driving our roads daily are noticeable, that’s why the city budget includes an historic amount of funding to mitigate these impacts by significantly expanding our street rehabilitation and street maintenance efforts. Implementing a New Land Development Code: We overhauled our Land Development Code, which will physically shape our city for years to come. The code calls for services to be located closer to people, which will relieve traffic congestion and make the community more convenient, walkable and bike friendly.

To learn more about what the city is doing to meet the w i l m i n g t o n b i z m a g a z i n e . c o m challenges of growth, visit thewilmingtoncurrent.com

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We are

COMMERCIAL Real Estate AND WE GROW BUSINESSES. HOW? We focus solely on commercial real estate, allowing our clients to focus on growing their business, leaving their real estate needs in expert hands. Case in point: Over 50% of our transactions are done off-market – meaning these commercial properties are never found on any listing platform. We successfully find those opportunities for our clients because all we do is commercial – all day, everyday.

HIRE AN EXPERT. HIRE COLDWELL BANKER COMMERCIAL, SUN COAST PARTNERS.

CBCSUNCOAST.COM 1430 Commonwealth Drive, Suite 102 | Wilmington, NC 28403 | 910.350.1200

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BizBites SOUND OFF |

BEHIND THE NUMBERS

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NEW STAGE A longtime

custom homebuilder in Wilmington recently turned an historical church property into its headquarters. PBC Design + Build used the former fellowship hall of Pearsall Memorial Presbyterian Church at 3902 Market St., designed by architect Leslie Boney Jr. in the 1960s, into a functional beauty. Pictured is the hall’s original stage, which over the decades hosted everything from Christmas plays to choir practice, magic shows to Cub Scout award ceremonies, said David Spetrino, president of PBC. These days, the stage serves as PBC’s design studio. In the foreground is a reclaimed pew from the church next door. Spetrino said that while the glass panels are new, the hardwood floors of the stage, the steel beam superstructure and the pine ceiling are original to the building. photo c/o PCB Design + Build

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SOUND OFF OFFSHORE WINDS CAN DRIVE BLUETECH

BizBites

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FOR THE PAST DECADE, THE QUESTION OF WHAT IS THE “NEXT BIG THING” FOR WILMINGTON HAS COME AND GONE. SOME LIKE THAT QUESTION, AND SOME DON’T. But the economic impact of the COVID pandemic now forces us to answer that question. It has been wellrecognized that the greater Wilmington region’s economy is overly dependent on beach tourism. Economic down cycles have disproportionately harsher impacts on coastal tourism-dependent communities. Our young adults move away to find better careers instead of putting their energy into their future in our community, and it encourages a significant income inequality gap between those who can “afford” the beach lifestyle and those who work to support it. Now, that “next big thing” has washed up at the front door, literally, renewable offshore wind energy – with it, the opportunity to catalyze a broader-based Blue technologies industry cluster providing a wealth of inclusive, high-paying trade and professional jobs. In May, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management will open the licensing auctions for wind farm development offshore in federal waters. The Wilmington-East tract is part of a larger designated wind area that reaches down to Charleston. According to studies commissioned by the N.C. Department

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GLENN ANDERSON of Commerce, the estimated impact of development of the Wilmington-East wind tract would create up to 1,000 new jobs with an average wage of $80,000. Over the three years estimated for construction build out, That would be a $250,000,000 infusion of paycheck wages into the regional Cape Fear economy annually during the initial offshore construction period. Those local paycheck dollars will provide counties and cities additional tax revenues to invest in the community amenities we all want to see get done. So, what is the OSW (offshore wind) build-out process for our community going to look like? OSW is a long-term commitment both for the wind developers and the community. There are four distinct phases: PHASE I: OSW is very port-centric in the early stages. The wind turbine components must be manufactured dockside because they are so large. There are N.C. Ports properties on the Cape Fear River and in Morehead City that are being considered for these terminal facilities. The estimated timeline for port construction upgrades is about three years. PHASE II: Then there is the actual offshore construction phase. Depending on the federal government construction permits, the timeline is three to five years. It is in this phase that the new jobs and paychecks really M A G A Z I N E

start rolling in. PHASE III: Once the wind turbines are up and operating there is a 25-year operations and maintenance phase to monitor and manage the wind fields. This is the time where the greatest entrepreneurial and innovation activity occurs, creating more spin-out companies servicing the OSW industry and creating more jobs. Cape Fear Ocean Labs estimates that during this phase that an additional $250 million in investment could be attracted to Southeastern North Carolina, within a decade, using the OSW catalyst to drive building a broader BlueTech business cluster ecosystem unique in North Carolina. PHASE IV: During this phase, the wind fields are actually torn down; the components are returned to shore, cut up and then sent inland for recycling. Then the wind field is again reconstructed. This phase takes about six years. As you can see, this is an almost 40-year process that then goes forward in perpetuity. That requires an organized effort to be “site-ready” so that the full economic prosperity benefits can be realized and aligned with community values. All four phases create deep opportunities for local business growth and create new entrepreneurial BlueTech businesses to serve national and global innovation markets. Our regional leadership needs to act upon the opportunity. Proactive engagement and policymaking will allow us to influence events to maximum benefit for the region. Both U.S. and European OSW wind developers are already setting up satellite offices in Hampton Roads,


Virginia. They are also already visiting Wilmington looking for partners to do business with. The time is now. The Cape Fear region is especially well-suited for BlueTech businesses, making it attractive for existing BlueTech companies to set up operations and for nurturing related startups. A stronger competitive BlueTech and marine industries business cluster creates more permanent local paychecks that cannot be bought out and moved away, unlike other types of tech. Almost 300 years ago, Wilmington was founded based on the blue technologies of the bygone era of tall sailing ships. Sea captains were the original entrepreneurs, the merchants funding them the first venture capitalists and their crews the first global explorers. That opportunity has now come again with advances in Blue technologies. The opportunity of OSW and its BlueTech follow-on effects can give our children an exciting, well-paying future to build a New World for themselves – here. As the saying goes, “Fortune favors the bold.” Glenn Anderson is the chair of Cape Fear Ocean Labs (capefearoceanlabs.org). He is a former banker, executive-level consultant and served 12 years in the Washington state legislature.

BizBites

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 KIND OF NEW STORES WOULD YOU LIKE TO SEE IN WILMINGTON? “IKEA” – DEBBIE TRIMAKAS

“ TARGET AT THE POINTE. Cheesecake Factory. Cheddar’s. Fix the roads and add more streetlights.” – JOEY GORE “ THE NORTH FACE, Crate & Barrel, West Elm, Zara … Bring back J. Crew and Cinnabon.” – CHARMAINE COX “ STOP BUILDING PERIOD. Fill all the vacant strip malls. No more car washers, no more storage. No more apartments. No more. Wilmington is being ruined. If we wanted to be like Cary we could live there.” – MARY TATUM “RED Lobster.”– ANDY MCGLINN

T W I T T E R P O L L : @ W I L M I N GT O N B I Z HOW WOULD YOU RATE WILMINGTON'S TRAFFIC?* * RESPONSES AS OF MARCH 8

INFURIATING NOT AS BAD AS SOME CITIES

61.1%

11.7% 27.8%

COULD BE BETTER

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

FROM THE PODCAST 2022

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.

“THE CITY HAS REALLY TAKEN a great step and a very methodical approach into how to address this specific topic and this real culture that we're trying to bring forward.” – JOE CONWAY, THE CITY OF WILMINGTON’S FIRST CHIEF EQUITY AND INCLUSION OFFICER, ON THE RISE TOGETHER INITIATIVE. “ONE OF THE THINGS WE DISCOVERED when we began to talk with businesses in our community is that there just wasn't accessibility to this kind of training on a free scale," – LINDA THOMPSON, NEW HANOVER COUNTY’S CHIEF DIVERSITY AND EQUITY OFFICER, ON A COUNTY PROGRAM TO PROVIDE DIVERSITY AND EQUITY TRAINING TO SMALL BUSINESSES AND NONPROFITS. SIGN UP FOR DAILY NEWS UPDATES AND SUBSCRIBE TO THE GREATER WILMINGTON BUSINESS JOURNAL AT WILMINGTONBIZ.COM

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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

Wilmington International Airport (ILM) New Terminal, Opened February 2022

TRU Colors Brewery Headquarters, Completed 2021

Building Our Footprint Across the Cape Fear Region Monteith Construction plays an active role in the ongoing success and growth of the regions in which we work, building projects that matter and make a difference in their communities— from airports to breweries and every asset class in between. We have an ironclad commitment to both our people and our partners. Get a glimpse of our culture at monteithco.com.

CHARLESTON | MYRTLE BEACH | RALEIGH | WILMINGTON (HQ)

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For marketing and new business inquiries: Colleen Coons | ccoons@monteithco.com


SOUND OFF

BizBites

PIQUING HOUSING INTEREST

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ACROECONOMISTS ARE HAVING A HEYDAY. IT’S BEEN YEARS, DECADES SINCE STUDENTS AND THE PUBLIC WERE SO INTERESTED IN INFLATION! However, many of their models and tools may be ill-equipped to deal with the current situation, and home prices might be collateral damage of the blunt policy tools available to the Federal Reserve. The Federal Reserve has a dual mandate to achieve “stable prices” and “maximum employment.” One could argue that we’re closing in on maximum employment with the unemployment rate below 4% again (we’re likely still in a bit of an aberration with the labor force still more than a half-million people below pre-pandemic levels), while it’s more difficult to argue prices are stable with consumer inflation in the 7% range and oil and gas prices on the rise. But what’s driving the inflation, what’s the policy response and what does it mean for us in SENC? Traditional theories of monetary policy suggest that increasing the money supply causes inflation, yet the Fed more than quadrupled the monetary base coming out of the financial crisis and inflation never materialized. In fact, inflation was so low that policymakers were puzzled by their inability to increase prices by their 2% objective. This disconnect between the recent experiences and traditional

A D A M J O N E S models suggests the current inflation may, at least in part, be driven by supply chain disruptions and surges in demand from federal stimulus programs. The Fed is in a position where it is forced to act, and its main tool today is influence over interest rates. Unfortunately, interest rates don’t fix supply chains in the near term, but they are likely to have an effect on real estate markets. At the onset of the pandemic, the Fed pushed rates about as low as they could go, and people responded by refinancing and buying homes. The Fed’s policy coincided with two other events though, a massive run-up in the stock market and the (temporary?) decoupling of work location from employment location; both events contributed to high levels of geographic mobility and put even more pressure on local real estate prices with median home prices in the three-county area now more than $100k higher than pre-pandemic, a nearly 40% increase. However, it’s the general rise in prices that has the Fed’s attention, not the rise in home prices in our region. To the extent that one is sympathetic to the supply chain disruption argument for inflation, interest rates appear a rather blunt instrument to slow inflation. The trick for the Fed will be

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raising rates at an appropriate pace to manage inflation expectations without crashing the housing and investment markets. Get ready for the “soft-landing” terminology to reappear. While the Fed must do something, at least they seem to be moving in a measured way. So, what should we expect for home prices in our region in the face of rising interest rates? Economic theory would suggest that as interest rates rise, home prices should come down, other things equal; it is those “other things” that are likely to drive home prices in the Wilmington area. Are people able to continue working remotely, or are they called back to the office, in which case they might not want the home here anymore? Do rising rates put a damper on the stock market and slow the movement of retirees to the region? Does a stock market adjustment shrink the purchasing power of homebuyers? Is there really a re-evaluation of work and priorities such that millennials and Gen Xers will prioritize quality of place over career aspirations? Yes, interest rates are going to rise and put downward pressure on real estate prices but “all real estate is local,” and many other factors are likely to be part of the story here in Southeastern North Carolina. 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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BEHIND THE

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PROJECT "TRANSIT" $500K

$1.5M

PROJECT "SPEED"

$113K

PROJECT "BUCKEYE"

$500K

M A G A Z I N E

WILMINGTON

TEMPERATURE

E X TR E ME S (MARCH)

94°

HIGHEST TEMP EVER

NORTH CAROLINA

LOWEST TEMP EVER

EQUITY FUNDING

TRIAD

(2021)

$76.4M

TRIANGLE

$3.97B

$53.2M $20.7M

$499.1M

WESTERN

WILMINGTON

A NEWLY-CREATED PANDEMIC OPERATIONS CENTER within New Hanover County’s Health and Human Services department – thought to be among the first in the nation at the local level – is up and running to meet current pandemic needs and to plan for future emergencies. By doing so, it will also take pressure off hundreds of county employees and volunteers, many of whom have worked double duty and fought burnout addressing COVID-19 over the past two years while also tending to other health needs, officials said. “What we’re doing is really allowing the staff to transition back to what their primary duties are, and the secondary duties have now become primary duties for a pandemic operations team,” said Jon Campbell, manager of the county’s new pandemics division. Campbell is a major in the Army National Guard with 13 years of experience as a physician assistant who has done tours of duty in Afghanistan and Iraq. On the civilian side, he has worked at health facilities including Vidant Duplin Hospital and Novant Health New Hanover Regional Medical Center. During the past year, he led a guard team assigned to work alongside New Hanover County staff. “At one point there was about 11 of us here in New Hanover County, and, yes, I was the officer-in-charge,” Campbell said. “I had visibility of what New Hanover had done related to the pandemic, being directly involved in it from a military perspective for a solid year. Then, they started advertising that they would be creating this pandemic response team … so I said, you know what, let me look at this opportunity a little bit closer.” Staffing for the 17-person operations center, at 1507 Greenfield St. in Wilmington, is just about complete. Paid for with $3.7 million in American Rescue Plan funds that also cover building renovations and a lease with AT&T, staff positions include an epidemiologist, contract tracers who can track the spread of communicable diseases, data administrators, several nurses, an inventory control technician and a community outreach specialist. Using the $3.7 million, the team’s operations are fully funded through December 2024. The group’s epidemiologist will help alert decisionmakers to any future pandemics, Campbell said. “They will certainly help identify disease trends, identify clusters … as well as being able to really look toward the future of saying, ‘Oh, there’s a commonality of a new influenza-like illness. It’s not quite flu, it’s not quite COVID, but it seems like there’s a cluster to this.’” l m i n g t o n

COUNTY AND CITY OFFERINGS TO FOUR PROSPECTIVE COMPANIES

TOTAL = $2,612,500

BY NEIL COTIAUX

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PROJECT "CLEAR"

NEW NHC CENTER PREPS FOR FUTURE PANDEMICS

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$ 3.7

FEDERAL FUNDS FOR PANDEMIC OPS CENTER

NEW HANOVER CO.

BizBites

CHARLOTTE

EASTERN

CRIME STATS* 2019 2020 2021

4,276 3,996 4,055

*Part 1 crimes including violent and property crimes Sources: New Hanover County, city of Wilmington, National Weather Service-Wilmington office, CED, Wilmington Police Department


YOUR TRUSTED REAL ESTATE EXPERTS DEPARTMENT PRACTICE AREAS:

Joseph O. Taylor, Jr.

Faison G. Sutton

· · · ·

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

Scott M. Holmes

· · · ·

Community Associations Condominiums & Townhomes Lender Representation Leasing

Andrea “Andi” M. Van Trigt

David G. Martin

· · · ·

Real Estate Disputes Agribusiness Title & Due Diligence Land Sales Compliance

Frances Y. Trask (Of Counsel)

Caleb M. Rash

(910) 763-2426 | WWW.MURCHISONTAYLOR.COM 1979 EASTWOOD ROAD, SUITE 101, WILMINGTON, NC 28403 | 12 NORTH 5TH AVE, WILMINGTON, NC 28401

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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

RENDERING C/O PARASTREAM DEVELOPMENT

PHOTO BY JOHANNA F. STILL

ILM FLIES HIGH WITH MORE SPACE

ENVISIONING SODA POP DISTRICT PROJECT Plans for the redevelopment of the old Coca-Cola plant in Wilmington’s Soda Pop District are moving forward. Parastream Development in early 2022 released renderings for “The Bottle Works Building” project, an urban-flex warehouse. Construction of the first portion of the two-phase adaptive reuse project is expected to be complete by this summer. It includes 74,000 square feet of leasable areas that span from 400 to 12,000 square feet. Already, Craftspace, a manufacturing business that renovates shipping containers, has leased 5,000 square feet and has plans to expand. Meant for warehouse use, light manufacturing,

assembly, distribution, office, retail and storefront opportunities, the flex space has a range of options for tenants. The first phase will enhance the old soda plant at 921 Princess St. Parastream Development plans to invest about $2 million in this process, according to a Wilmington Downtown Inc. press release. The company purchased the property, which is located on a 1.5acre block, for $8 million in a deal that included multiple properties totaling 7 acres in October. Bowman Murray Hemingway Architects and Monteith Construction Co. are collaborating on the project.

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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In early February, passengers made their way for the first time down an extended wing of the Wilmington International Airport. The new concourse officially opened to unveil vaulted ceilings, local art, expansive seating and new gates. Work on the last phase of the multiyear $68 million expansion project began in 2020. The expansion increased ILM’s space by 75% to reach a total of 162,800 square feet. The Federal Aviation Administration contributed $35.5 million toward the three-phase expansion project.

$311 ESTIMATED SPENDING IN THE WILMINGTON AREA ON FILM PROJECTS IN 2021

MILLION


Genesis Block is a hub for community gatherings and business activity. We create collaborative environments that give community stakeholders the ability to work together in creating entrepreneurship opportunities that empower communities.

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35 years of experience and extraordinary insight into commercial real estate.

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BizBites

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EARLY SEVEN YEARS AGO, CBL PROPERTIES BOUGHT MAYFAIRE TOWN CENTER AND MAYFAIRE COMMUNITY CENTER (LATER SELLING OFF THE MAYFAIRE COMMUNITY CENTER PORTION). The real estate investment trust based in Chattanooga is one of the largest shopping mall REITs in the country, owning and managing 99 properties including malls, outlet centers, lifestyle retail centers and open-air centers. Its portfolio covers 63 million square feet of space. Changing retail trends and the pandemic’s initial disruptions impacted CBL Properties (NYSE: CBL), which in late 2020 filed for bankruptcy. About a year later, the company in November emerged from Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, reducing its debt load by about $1.7 billion in the restructuring. CBL’s CEO Stephen Lebovitz talked with the Business Journal about what’s next for the company and its plans for Mayfaire. Below is an excerpt from a recent Q&A with Lebovitz. To read more, go to WilmingtonBiz.com. HOW HAS MAYFAIRE TOWN CENTER PERFORMED SINCE CBL’S PURCHASE, ESPECIALLY WHEN LOOKING AT OTHER PROPERTIES CBL OWNS AROUND THE COUNTRY?

“CBL purchased Mayfaire in 2015 because we saw a tremendous opportunity in the asset and the market. Being a market-dominant property with no similar competition within 100 miles made the property an ideal fit for our portfolio and our long-term strategy of owning market-dominant properties in growing markets. Since 2015,

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STEPHEN LEBOVITZ CEO, CBL PROPERTIES

Mayfaire has been one of CBL’s topperforming properties, experiencing sustained leasing demand and sales increases. In 2021, Mayfaire experienced double-digit sales increases as customers returned to bricks and mortar, which is in line with the performance of the rest of our portfolio.” WHAT DOES THE COMPANY LOOK LIKE NOW AFTER THE REORGANIZATION, AND WHAT DOES THAT MEAN FOR HOW IT’S LOOKING AT PROPERTIES’ FUTURES?

“Emerging from bankruptcy in 2021 was a significant milestone for CBL and put the company in a strong financial position. Looking ahead, we have greater financial flexibility to continue to diversify our properties combining retail, dining, entertainment and other uses to better serve our communities.” IN WHAT WAYS HAS THE RETAIL INDUSTRY REBOUNDED FROM THE EARLY STAGES OF THE PANDEMIC; IN WHAT WAYS HAS IT STILL NOT?

“Traffic and sales have rebounded considerably and in many cases are back to pre-pandemic levels. While the long-term impacts of the pandemic remain to be seen, there are learnings we can take from it as we enhance the M A G A Z I N E

BY VICKY JANOWSKI

experience at our properties for our customers. In the early days of the pandemic, we saw a considerable increase in curbside pickup services, especially as retail stores were closed to mitigate the spread. As stores reopened, we saw retailers dedicating more space to buy online-pickup in store services as well as curbside pickup. These types of service offerings were popular pre-pandemic but exploded during the pandemic. Retailers were able to quickly mobilize the infrastructure needed to support these services, and I don’t see them going away any time soon.” WHAT DO YOU SEE AHEAD FOR MAYFAIRE TOWN CENTER?

“Mayfaire has continued to see strong leasing demand from high-end retailers and other uses. We have a number of things in various phases of negotiation, and we’ll be excited to share more as plans are finalized.” OVERALL, WHAT ARE THE RETAIL OR MIXED-USE INDUSTRY TRENDS YOU SEE COMING DOWN THE ROAD, PARTICULARLY ONES THAT IMPACT OWNERS LIKE CBL?

“As mentioned earlier, we are seeing sustained demand for services like BOPIS (buy online, pickup in store) and curbside pickup. But I think one thing the pandemic has taught us is that people value experiences and opportunities to socialize; it’s why we’ve seen such strong demand as the pandemic has waned. As we move forward, our strategy is to redefine the mall by combining new retail, dining, entertainment, hospitality and a number of other uses. Our properties are hubs of community activity, and we look forward to creating spaces that will serve our communities for years to come.”


ACTIVE PROJECTS DRIVING ECONOMIC GROWTH • 70 acres of land leased in 2021. • Circle K convenience store and gas station, with 14 fueling pumps, opening spring 2022. • Aero Center Wilmington, new FBO and aircraft hangar, opening spring 2022. • 1 Million square feet of distribution/ warehouse/cold storage space leased.

More room to coast. ILM’s new concourse is now open and features new gates, seating areas, public art, and a historical area. Our 75% expansion allows us, and you, to continue to coast on in and coast on out.

flyilm.com

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BY SCOTT NUNN

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Two recent development proposals bring the future of Cape Fear River’s undeveloped side back into focus

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HE SOUTH ATLANTIC COASTAL CITY SITS NEAR THE MOUTH OF THE STATE’S MOST IMPORTANT RIVER, ANCHORING ONE OF ITS FASTEST-GROWING REGIONS. Its flourishing downtown is a blend of old and new, with thousands of people living in its long-established historic district and modern apartment buildings. An iconic bridge spans the river that’s a gateway to the seaport near downtown. The riverfront is a popular destination for restaurant patrons, shoppers or those simply taking in the view of the mostly undeveloped island across the river from downtown. Welcome to Savannah, Georgia, a city remarkably similar to Wilmington,

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including its recent efforts to expand its urban footprint across the river. As Wilmington-area leaders consider new commercial projects on the west bank of the Cape Fear River, Savannah’s forging ahead with development on Hutchinson Island, a stretch of low-lying land across the Savannah River from the city’s historic downtown. Much like the west bank of the Cape Fear, Hutchinson Island historically served as a shipping and industrial area for Savannah, a stark contrast to the stately homes across the river. Like Wilmington’s Eagles Island, those industries died off, and the island was left mostly desolate. Today, however, Hutchinson Island is slowly being transformed, now home to a 15-story Westin hotel, the Savannah Convention Center and a championship golf course. Current plans include several large mixed-use commercial 2 0 2 2

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developments, and the Georgia Ports Authority is building a 200-acre container facility. In Wilmington, two projects are proposed across from downtown – the six-story Wilmington Hotel and Spa on Eagles Island, just south of the battleship; and Battleship Point, a large mixed-use project on Point Peter, a small peninsula a bit north of the ship. Ironically, although both projects would dramatically change the across-the-river view from downtown Wilmington, neither is in the city limits – both are in unincorporated sections of New Hanover County. So when it comes to a vision for the western side of the river, Wilmington – arguably one of the biggest stakeholders – has no seat at the table. Even New Hanover County’s power to shape the future of the area is limited since most of Eagles Island is in Brunswick County. New Hanover also potentially stands to lose zoning control of Point Peter. The developers of Battleship Point have asked the town of Leland to annex its property, a strategy developers employed after hesitation by New Hanover leaders to approve new zoning. The marshy and flood-prone west side of the river has been home to the Battleship North Carolina since 1961. The Army Corps of Engineers and a handful of businesses occupy a relatively small strip near the Cape Fear Memorial Bridge, but, other than the battleship area, the land directly across from downtown is undeveloped. A variety of groups own the dozen or so parcels across from downtown, including the Battleship Commission, the state of North Carolina, Duke Energy, the New Hanover Soil & Water Conservation, the towns of Leland and Belville and a handful of private concerns. As downtown Wilmington and its waterfront grew in recent decades, the west side of the river garnered little attention. A few commercial projects were proposed, but none gained traction. Even though Point Peter and the prime locations near the battleship are in New Hanover, Commissioner Rob Zapple said the county paid little

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attention to the area during work on the 2016 comprehensive plan. “It’s not a whole lot of land, but there’s so much visual impact there,” Zapple said. “It was kind of overlooked. Nobody really discussed it at all.” With only a few projects proposed over the years, the land stayed mostly off the county’s radar. That should have changed during the more recent work on a unified development ordinance, Zapple said. “That whole revision process, that’s really where we should have picked it up, but it essentially fell through the cracks,” he said. Although it faces a host of regulatory hurdles, the Wilmington Hotel and Spa project requires no zoning changes. Battleship Point, however, does. The request has gone before the county commissioners, but at the urging of Zapple and Commissioner Jonathan Barfield, it was tabled for further study. As of Feb. 23, the county had not announced a date for the meeting or who would be participating. Also as of then, a spokesperson for the city of Wilmington said there had been no formal invitation from New Hanover County to discuss the issue. Elsewhere, a spokesperson said Brunswick County had received no applications for projects on Eagles Island and would consider any future proposals on an individual basis. Zapple said he was not necessarily opposed to development on the west side of the river, but like some other local leaders and groups, he is concerned about the frequent flooding. It’s a problem that has resulted in the battleship having to elevate its parking lot and the Corps of Engineers exploring leaving Eagles Island, where it has had a presence for more than a century. Kemp Burdette, riverkeeper with Cape Fear River Watch, has been vocally opposed to major development of Eagles Island and Point Peter. It’s the flooding that makes him most skeptical. “I think most people who are looking at this objectively understand … that both of those pieces of property – Eagles Island and Point Peter – are M A G A Z I N E

Cape Fear Riverkeeper Kemp Burdette and N.C. NAACP President Deborah Dicks Maxwell have expressed environmental and cultural concerns about the proposed Point Peter development.

going to be underwater in 30 years,” Burdette said. He said new tidal-gauge data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration paints a bleak picture for the area. “We’re seeing higher numbers on sea level rise on the East Coast than for the national average numbers you hear about,” Burdette said. “So it’s going to be underwater.” Burdette said he is not opposed to very low-impact development, such as trails, green spaces and historical and cultural facilities that are elevated and primarily outdoors. Historic and cultural elements of the area are major concerns for groups such as the Historic Wilmington Foundation and the Brunswick and New Hanover branches of the


NAACP. Although Wilmington has no jurisdiction across the river, most of the riverbank across from downtown is part of the city’s National Register historic district and subject to review by the Wilmington Historic Preservation Commission. “The historic district that is listed on the National Register of Historic Places does include portions of the west bank of the Cape Fear River and the northeast branch of the Cape Fear River,” said Travis Gilbert, executive director of the Historic Wilmington Foundation. The area is part of the historic district because it includes the Battleship North Carolina, but also numerous archaeological remains, both on land and underwater, Gilbert said. “From a historical perspective, the

landscape of the western bank of the Cape Fear River alludes to the natural resources that made the urbanization of the eastern bank of the Cape Fear River possible,” he said. As with Zapple and Burdette, Gilbert doesn’t believe the area has to remain completely untouched to preserve its historical, cultural and environmental value. “We have been vocal about prescriptive zoning measures … such as setback and height restrictions,” Gilbert said. “They aren’t necessarily excluding development for the west bank of the Cape Fear River but ensuring that any development is sensitive to the cultural resources like the USS North Carolina that our county is obligated to preserve and to protect.” He said the future also could play

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out with continued acquisition of the private parcels on Eagles Island and Point Peter by conservation groups or the addition of conservation easements. Gilbert generally supports the vision put forth by the Eagles Island Central Park Task Force, including a boardwalk similar to Wilmington’s Riverwalk, walking trails, a maritime museum and a canoe/kayak rental center. The two NAACP chapters have expressed concerns about intense development on Eagles Island and Point Peter, maintaining that it would exacerbate existing flooding and threaten that area’s cultural and historical integrity, particularly as it relates to the Gullah Geechee people, a community that evolved from slaves on rice plantations and in the naval stores industry, both onetime mainstays of the Eagles Island area. (In 2006, Congress established the Gullah Geechee Cultural Heritage Corridor and later declared it a National Heritage area. Both New Hanover and Brunswick counties are within the corridor). In a letter to the New Hanover County commissioners, local NAACP leaders said Eagles Island and Point Peter are “well documented as having significant historical and cultural heritage value. There is an exceptional opportunity to preserve, protect and celebrate the history, culture and heritage of our people’s connection to the Lower Cape Fear River …” Developer Gene Merritt was a driving force behind the redevelopment of downtown Wilmington and an advocate for transforming the city’s riverfront area from its historical industrial use to a recreation and entertainment destination. As he and others pushed for the Riverwalk, Merritt said a vision for the west side of the river never was part of the conversation. “The other side of the river was almost another world,” Merritt said. “It was not part of the city of Wilmington for sure, and still isn’t part of it.” Merritt supports development on the west side of the river but in a measured way. “I have always felt that

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A proposal would put tall buildings on Point Peter, pictured at right. PHOTO BY MICHAEL CLINE SPENCER

The plan for the Wilmington Hotel and Spa, rendering shown here, on Eagles Island doesn't require a rezoning.

development could occur over there, but I think it should be planned, not just sterile, open zoning, but rather special-use permits,” he said. Like some other local groups and leaders, Merritt envisions a bridge-tobridge riverwalk that would mirror the Wilmington side of the Cape Fear. He believes the best use of the area would be boating-related, with wharves and docks along the riverbank. Merritt goes a step further than the Eagles Island task force, however. Although he doesn’t support intensive development, he believes limited commercial and residential development should not necessarily be ruled out. He foresees maritime and other recreational uses for the immediate riverfront, with the possibility of larger commercial and residential development farther back.

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The key, he believes, is ensuring that any development marries well with the land’s natural setting and is sensitive to its unique and fragile environment. “Hopefully someone, I guess the county, would have the wisdom to go over there and try to put a big glove over the whole thing and have some sort of a control over the development process so that it doesn’t get out of hand or get wacky,” Merritt said. But the mishmash of owners and jurisdictions presents challenges. For example, although the projects planned are in New Hanover County, all of the land south of the battleship is in Brunswick County. And moves such as Battleship Point’s request to be annexed by Leland could further complicate attempts for a unified vision for Eagles Island and Point Peter. M A G A Z I N E

That was not the case when a vision was being laid out for Hutchinson Island, which was annexed by Savannah in the late 1990s as development of the island was being proposed. Now the city is solidly behind large-scale development of the island, which leaders see as a natural expansion of its downtown, although it is on the other side of the river. While Savannah has agreed on a vision for Hutchinson Island, governments and other groups here have only just begun taking a serious look at the future of Eagles Island and the other areas across from downtown. And even though the sight of the battleship from downtown is one of Wilmington’s most recognizable views, the ship’s island home remains a bit of a mystery, even for county leaders. Zapple believes the commissioners need to learn much more about the area before making decisions about its future. As Cape Fear Riverkeeper, Burdette sees the river and its environs primarily through an environmental lens. But he doesn’t discount the aesthetics of Eagles Island and how it complements the urban east bank. “It’s a very unique thing,” Burdette said. “If you go on Instagram and search for something like Cape Fear River sunset, you can see 100,000 pictures people have taken from the Riverwalk.” Burdette believes it’s the best of both worlds. “You go to Battleship Park and get the best view of the downtown Wilmington skyline – the church steeples and the historic buildings – and egrets are near you feeding in the marsh,” Burdette said. “Then you cross the river back to Wilmington, and you are in a completely different place.” The question of whether or not to preserve the dichotomy of the two very separate yet intimately connected places represent is what’s being considered. As that conversation begins, who gets to answer that question and the realistic capacity for that answer to shape the west bank’s future is murky, much like the river that runs through the entire debate.


OFFICE W S PA C E SHIFTING WORK HABITS PLAY INTO HOW SOME OF WILMINGTON’S NEWEST TECH COMPANIES ARE SETTING UP SHOP BY JOHANA CANO PHOTOS BY TERAH HOOBLER

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alking into a corporate office sometime before 2019 you would have seen personalities reflected in each worker’s office space. From a desk that is minimalistic and only bares a computer and some pens to a hyperorganized one with color-coded calendars and bins for each office supply. This dedicated-desk scenario may look different now as workplaces underwent shifts brought on by the pandemic and the realization that not all work must be done within the confines of an office. For several tech companies establishing offices in downtown Wilmington – including two moving into space at the former Bank of America building on North Third Street – the timing allowed them to consider from the start how they plan around remote, hybrid and inperson office cultures. Walk into Litify’s new office at 319 N. Third

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Grover Gaming’s new offices in downtown Wilmington

St. and you will find, for example, workers “hoteling,” a flexible space strategy where employees can claim or reserve a sitting or stand-up desk for their day-to-day work. This means those personalized desks may be a thing of the past for some. Litify is a legaltech company that announced its new office space in Wilmington last year. It allows employees to work under a hybrid model, giving them the flexibility of working from home and at its office. This same office strategy was adopted by Suzy, a consumer research software platform, which also recently opened its technology hub in downtown Wilmington in the same building as Litify. Not all tech spaces, however, have to be set up around coming and going. When Grover Gaming opened its space in The Cotton Exchange, the

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game development studio planned for in-person, collaborative layouts in its office design.

‘ WORK ANYWHERE’

Workplaces underwent a crucial test at the onset of COVID of determining whether productivity would take a hit with a work-fromhome model. Several studies, some carried out before the pandemic, have illustrated that productivity working from home did not decrease but went up. This includes Stanford University’s pre-pandemic study of 16,000 workers over nine months that found working from home increased productivity by 13%, and according to the Owl Labs 2021 State of Remote Work report, 90% of workers surveyed said they were as productive or more working remotely when compared to

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the office. One important aspect of building a business and a team is having a strong team culture, which is why being able to have employees inperson at the office makes the hybrid option important, said Hogan Hagy, chief customer officer at Litify, a firm with a cloud-based offering for the litigation industry that currently has 25 employees in Wilmington. “We feel we can build culture remotely, but it’s not as effective or efficient as working together in a shared space,” Hagy said. “The value of being together and focusing on the same mission in the same location has significant value that is often lost when working fully remote.” Hagy said he currently tries to work at the office three to four days a week, and he enjoys having the flexibility to work at his home office


when needed. “The company supports a ‘work anywhere’ model,” he said. “We are in a remote world these days, so businesses like Litify must have options and be quick to pivot and accommodate trends that are quickly taking place in the work world. “I believe a company allowing and supporting its team members in working anywhere shows a level of trust that is critical to maintaining a healthy culture within any business or team,” he added. In addition to hoteling, Litify’s office has soundproof pods for taking calls and various fun and gaming areas to socialize and take breaks. William Mansfield, chief technology officer at Suzy, views the hybrid model not as novel but as a new philosophy in the workplace. Suzy decided to work under a

hybrid model after seeing the nature of work and life had shifted. “Things have changed, and they will continue to change. Our habits have changed because of it, and we’re not going to ignore that fact; we’re going to lean into it,” Mansfield said. Mansfield defines a hybrid workplace as one where people can both collaborate internally and remotely in the same universe. One feature that helped Suzy with this hybrid model is its cloud-based system, he said. The company adapted by having Zoom rooms for team members to meet, and it leased space – the top floor of the building – that can not only accommodate its workers but is much bigger than what the number of workers would have traditionally required. “Our office is designed to be larger than one would expect in pre-COVID days. Before you may have 100 people squeezed in a room, and now instead of 100, you squeeze 40 in there that gives a lot of room,” Mansfield said. “It still allows the opportunity for people to walk by and hear a conversation and join in or to quickly rally five people to jump into a huddle room.” One key aspect that affects whether collaboration and productivity prosper remotely is the job role, Mansfield said. “The Wilmington office is very much heavy engineering and toplevel engineers. So engineering is a place where you are behind a keyboard most of the day, no matter where you are. So, it doesn’t impact the workload so much,” Mansfield said. “It does impact, however, decision-making and collaboration on a creative process.” The idea that creative and collaborative-based roles tend to do better work in-person at an office can be affirmed by another Wilmington tech company.

COLLABORATIVE SPACES Another new company in Wilmington that is doing things differently is Grover Gaming.

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DOWNTOWN'S NEW TECH

321 N. FRONT ST. | grovergaming.com COMPANY DESCRIPTION: Develops software, game content and gaming systems for lotteries and charitable gaming jurisdictions NO. OF WILMINGTON EMPLOYEES: 29

WILMINGTON EMPLOYEE HIRING GOAL: 60 OFFICE SETUP: In-person office work

LAYOUT DETAILS: Work in collaborative small group setting, open space that lends itself to a creative environment

319 N. THIRD ST. | litify.com COMPANY DESCRIPTION: Legaltech firm with a cloud-based offering for the litigation industry NO. WILMINGTON EMPLOYEES: 25 EMPLOYEE HIRING GOAL: 50

OFFICE SETUP: Hybrid with a “work anywhere” model LAYOUT DETAILS: Hoteling, soundproof pods for taking calls, various fun and gaming areas to socialize and take breaks

319 N. THIRD ST. | suzy.com COMPANY DESCRIPTION: Market research firm with a focus on technology and realtime research NO. OF WILMINGTON EMPLOYEES: 11 EMPLOYEE HIRING GOAL: 40

OFFICE SETUP: Hybrid workplace where people can both collaborate internally and remotely in the same universe, cloud-based LAYOUT DETAILS: Zoom rooms for team members to meet, leased an office space much bigger than what the number of workers would have normally required

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The Greenville, North Carolinabased company opened a game development studio in Wilmington last year citing the area’s appeal to creative and tech talent. The studio is housed at The Cotton Exchange in downtown Wilmington and currently has 29 employees who all work directly in game creation. “Our studio is our creative environment for making our games,” said Dotty Hales, general manager of the Wilmington studio. “Specifically in our studio in Wilmington, we house what we call studio teams made up of our artists and developers or programmers.” The team also includes quality assurance, an audio person, facilities and IT workers and a recruiter. The Wilmington studio focuses on game design with an emphasis on collaborative work, which is why a hybrid model is not currently instilled. “Our studio teams actually work in a group setting,” Hales said, “so they’re separated in our office space.

They work in small groups. It’s very much a collaborative effort.” If an employee needs to work remotely for a day or two, that can be accommodated, but the nature of work at the creative studio is so teambased that Grover Gaming needs them to be in the office every day. The layout at The Cotton Exchange office also contributes to the collective work occurring within its walls, Hales said. “It really lends itself to being open and airy and creative. It kind of forces that collaborative nature of work because you’re not siloed in different spaces,” Hales said. The Grover Gaming Wilmington office’s goal is to ultimately hire 60 employees, and chief product officer Dean Smith previously said that Wilmington’s appeal to younger tech talent will help them achieve that level. The majority of the Wilmington studio’s employees have relocated to the region, with about 23 out of its 29 current employees recruited to the Port City.

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RETHINKING LAYOUTS

Organizations interested in having workplace flexibility should understand their culture and feel confident that their identity is strong enough to have a hybrid workplace, said Bobby Croghan, a workplace sector leader with architecture, interior and planning service firm LS3P in Wilmington. In many ways, Croghan said, hybrid and traditional workplaces have common elements such as individual workspaces, enclosed collaboration spaces, focus spaces, open social spaces, cafes, etc. “However, the difference comes in the allocation of space. As hybrid workers come into the physical office, they are less burdened with the ‘stuff ’ that can accumulate while working at a permanent seat,” he said. “As private offices may shrink as well due to the rise of nonpermanent seats, the formerly private space may start to take on different uses such as huddle spaces.” Important accommodations for a hybrid work model also encompass digital implements such as software and communication tools. “The overarching theme for creating a successful hybrid office is the need for employee education on how to use everything at their disposal, both in the office and at their home office,” Croghan said. Traditional technology companies may have had an easier transition to a hybrid work model due to many of them having less of a traditional hierarchy and, therefore, a flatter organization style. “This tends to allow for a freer style of work with more leeway in work styles and schedules,” Croghan said. Leadership can make or break a hybrid model. “No matter what type of organization, a successful hybrid working model requires a culture of trust, stemming from leadership,” Hogan said. “Leadership must trust that their employees are indeed working although they can’t see them physically in the office.”


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PROFILE

BREAKING

GROUND BY CECE NUNN

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PROFILE

Developer plans to make her mark on a male-dominated field

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o Mariana Molina, a vacant car dealership on prime Wilmington real estate presented a unique opportunity. Molina is a fledgling developer and a rarity in an industry where much fewer women are at the helm of major projects. The Wilmington resident’s company, Bella Vista Development Group, along with partner Craig Davis Properties, bought a former Honda dealership at 821 S. College Road to build Paseo, a mixed-use multifamily enclave. Paseo, a word of Spanish origin that connotes a walkway for strolling, will add something new to a slumping portion of College Road. Molina’s proposal required a city rezoning of the 6-acre site, a process that can be daunting and doesn’t always result in an approval. “It’s very risky,” Molina said, “but it just so happens that the city council and the mayor were very supportive of doing something on that property. There’s such high visibility, and they loved the idea of revitalizing it and making it higher-density, not just having another big-box type of retail there.” Molina, a graduate of the University of North Carolina Wilmington with a degree in French, was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina. In 1985, her family moved to Chapel Hill when her father, a biochemist, joined the pharmaceutical firm that eventually became GlaxoSmithKline. “We packed our suitcases, and my two sisters and I, we were each allowed to bring one stuffed animal,” said Molina, who picked an oversized

blond-haired doll named Bibi after her maternal grandmother. Molina attended Chapel Hill High School, but when it came time to choose a college, she wanted to leave the nest and picked UNCW. After graduation, she moved to Raleigh, where she worked in sales for a few years before going back to school to get a law degree from N.C. Central University. Molina moved to Chicago to get her LLM, the equivalent of a master’s degree, in real estate law at John Marshall Law School. She went on to work for a prestigious Chicago law firm for six years. Wanting to get out of the grind of working for a big law firm, Molina became in-house counsel for Craig Davis Properties, which is owned by her husband, developer Craig Davis. “It was while working at CDP that I started to really learn about development from the perspective of a developer … and I liked what I saw and I was just very intrigued by it from the get-go,” Molina said. In 2019, Molina started Bella Vista Development Group with support from Davis at CDP’s Cary headquarters. “I’ve been able to learn a lot from him, and we work very well together,” Molina said. For the new firm, she had to change her risk-averse lawyer’s mindset. “As a developer, everything that you do is based on risk,” she said. Bella Vista’s first project involved property that Davis had a ground lease for in Meadowmont Village, the commercial portion of a mixed-use community in Chapel Hill. “I started to assemble my development team and interviewed different architects and civil engineering firms,” Molina said, “and I started to realize how few women were in this industry, and how overlooked women are oftentimes in commercial real estate and in development in particular.” She decided to put together a team of all women “who have the experience and have the drive and the desire to break into aspects of the industry that

w i l m i n g t o n b i z m a g a z i n e . c o m

historically perhaps they haven’t been a part of.” Molina ended up scrapping plans for a 150,000-square-foot mixed-use project on the Meadowmont Village in favor of a 50-unit condominium development after re-evaluating Chapel Hill’s appetite for large-scale developments. She said such change goes along with being a developer. “It is a very, very tough business. It is very difficult starting out,” Molina said. “It’s difficult to be taken seriously.” Molina explained that you not only have to sell your ability as a developer to the investors you need but also on the market in which a project is based. That can be difficult in a place like Wilmington because while the area is growing and gaining more recognition; it’s not as nationally recognized as communities like Raleigh and Durham. “To me, that just says the opportunity here is great,” Molina said. For Paseo, designed by architecture firm LS3P with civil engineering by SEPI, Bella Vista plans to knock the old dealership buildings down and create 298 apartments and 15,000 square feet of commercial space. “We are full steam ahead on the design and development,” Molina said, “and we hope to have construction drawings ready in July so that we would be able to start construction in maybe August or September of this year.” Students at nearby UNCW would be welcome as tenants at Paseo, but “our target audience is more young professionals, perhaps staff or faculty at UNCW, empty nesters or folks who are looking to have a second home here at the coast,” Molina said. While Bella Vista’s focus in Wilmington will initially be on Paseo, Molina doesn’t discount the possibility of other opportunities in the area. “It has been incredible to see,” she said, referring to Wilmington’s growth since she lived in the city as an undergraduate in 1997. “I think that the trends are heading in the right direction.”

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A

TO WATC H

TRENDS

TRENDS

s the world continues to emerge from pandemic fears, commercial real estate trends from last year are continuing in 2022. BY CECE NUNN

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OFFICE SPACE

ORDERS UP

The COVID pandemic undoubtedly led to the emptying of some large office buildings across the U.S. But in Wilmington and elsewhere, the office sector of commercial real estate seems to be recovering and thriving. “I don’t foresee the massive changes coming to the office market that the early stages of COVID made it appear like,” said David Branton, broker in charge at Eastern Carolinas Commercial Real Estate. “A recent Forbes article found that by 2025, 70% of the workforce will be work-fromhome at least five days a month, but the issue comes from the time that is spent in the office. “Unless companies go to two- to three-day WFH per week, you don’t really have the ability to double bunk offices/desks with an A/B shift-type setup because of the overlap in hours.” In some areas of the Cape Fear region, including at Autumn Hall in Wilmington and in the northern Brunswick County town of Leland, new office space is on the rise.

Restaurants often come and go, particularly in a foodie town like the Port City. COVID signaled massive restaurant shutdowns in various parts of the country, and some Wilmington eateries caved in to the pressure or felt the pandemic as the last straw amidst other struggles. At the same time, many establishments persevered, and in some cases, like that of the popular Indochine empire, expanded. “Very surprising to me has been the relative steadiness in the restaurant market,” Branton said. “There was an expectation that as businesses began to reopen following lockdowns, the supply of available second-generation restaurant spaces was going to be enormous. That has not been the case; through grants, landlord relief and PPP, most of these businesses have thankfully remained.” At the start of 2022, numerous restaurants had recently opened or were setting up shop at one of the area’s largest shopping centers, Independence Mall.

M A G A Z I N E


TRENDS

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INDUSTRIAL EVOLUTION

RETHINKING RETAIL

DEMOLITION DERBY

In New Hanover, Brunswick and Pender counties, industrial space is still in demand. “The industrial sector remains extremely competitive as retailers and e-commerce giants alike look to improve their last mile logistics as the growth of Wilmington and the surrounding continue to make timely deliveries more difficult,” Branton said. Investors have taken notice of the region’s industrial real estate successes. Late last year, a New Yorkbased real estate developer, owner and investor bought a twobuilding industrial portfolio in Wilmington. Treeline acquired 3700 and 3720 U.S. 421 N. from Burgess Corp., a construction and project management company, in an offmarket transaction. The properties include a 66,274-square-foot building renovated into class A industrial space at 3700 U.S. 421 N. and a newly constructed 40,000-squarefoot industrial property at 3720 U.S. 421 N. The buildings were fully leased to market rate tenants at the time of the sale.

Yes, we know, a lot of people shop online. But they’re also getting out of the house and going to stores, just maybe not the same-old, same-old stores. “Retail remains strong although we have seen a shift from traditional consumer products to retail services such as urgent care, dental and optical uses,” Branton said. Services and experiences have been making their mark on the Wilmington retail scene for several years. At Mayfaire Town Center, creative arts studio Pinspiration opened its doors last year. While some spaces have remained empty at the start of 2022, others are filling with niche retailers, like Isa Roe Boutique, also at Mayfaire Town Center. The store caters to tweens and young teen girls, who struggle to find clothes that aren’t too cutesy or too mature. Isa Roe owner Britany Rivera, who named the store after her 13-year-old daughter and her daughter’s friend, said moms and teens, especially young teens who are hard to fit, still enjoy heading to the shops.

Tearing down aging commercial structures, particularly along high-traffic thoroughfares, is becoming more commonplace in the Wilmington area. For hotel owner Devang Patel, starting over at the site of the 134-room Baymont by Wyndham Wilmington made the most sense. The hotel was severely damaged in 2018 by Hurricane Florence. “It was a sound decision after two years of going back and forth to see if it was feasible to repair,” Patel said. “It made no sense to be in a premier location and have an older property. It needed a brandnew look.” Hansen Matthews, commercial broker with Wilmington-based Maus, Warwick, Matthews & Co., said that 15 to 20 years ago, buyers could still find some vacant property in Wilmington. “Now when we are doing site selection, finding these sites where you don’t have to tear something down is just about impossible to do in the city,” Matthews said.

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PROFILE

ADDING

VALUE

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Zimmer’s m a n ag i n g pa rt n e r focuses on r e b u i l di n g B Y MIC HEL L E S A X T ON P HOT O B Y M I CH A E L C L INE S P E N C E R

Landon Zimmer was part of the most recent WilmingtonBiz 100 as an Influencer. Look for this year’s nominations to open in the fall and the new group to be announced in the December issue of WilmingtonBiz Magazine.

W

ilmington attorney Landon Zimmer embraces the challenge of developing land needing environmental cleanup through states’ brownfield programs. “Typically, the harder it is to develop a site, the more value there is to unlock,” Zimmer said. “You know you’re doing a public good and benefit, and it’s a win-win.” Zimmer is managing partner at Zimmer Development Co., a familyrun business founded in 1989 in Wilmington. Infill and urban projects are among his priorities. Zimmer earned an MBA from Duke University, where he also earned a law degree and an undergraduate degree. He is a partner at Zimmer and Zimmer and serves as a consultant for another family company, Reeds Jewelers. He mainly is involved with the development company, which specializes in commercial and multifamily development and has about 30 employees, Zimmer said. The firm’s headquarters are expected to move from downtown Wilmington to Mayfaire, an area the company previously developed. “I like working in the family business and hope to continue what the previous generations have started and continued,” he said. Over the years, Zimmer’s firm has developed more than 260 projects in at least 140 cities, according to the company website. Projects Landon Zimmer has helped lead include a mixed-use development in Tallahassee, Florida, that involves about 40 acres, in an old industrial area adjacent to Florida State University. Development started in 2015, and it was expected to be about a $400 million investment when completed in the next five years, Zimmer said. It will include student housing, retail, multifamily development and a hotel. Construction is expected to start in May on a multifamily and retail development in Richmond, Virginia, estimated to be about a $250 million investment when completed in about

w i l m i n g t o n b i z m a g a z i n e . c o m

PROFILE

five years, Zimmer said. Cleaning up brownfield sites might involve removing contaminated soil and capping areas with barriers such as clean soil, Zimmer said. He estimated the company’s existing and future investment value of rehabilitated brownfields and infill development at more than $1 billion. “A lot of the environmental benefit would be taking these contaminated properties and cleaning them up where previously people couldn’t utilize them,” Zimmer said. “Now you’ve got parks; you’ve got public space.” Locally, Zimmer’s company has partnered with New Hanover County on Project Grace – the planned redevelopment of a 3-acre downtown Wilmington block along Grace Street to build a new Main Library and Cape Fear Museum, as well as private development. Zimmer Development is working with architectural firm LS3P on Project Grace, and construction is expected to start this summer. “We’ve just recently completed the design development drawings and sent those over to the museum and the library, and they’re working through comments now,” said Adam Tucker, director of development for the Zimmer company. Design work includes using ballast stone and terra cotta as a nod to the Port City’s shipbuilding history. Construction of the new library and museum was estimated to take about 18 to 24 months, said Jennifer Rigby, New Hanover County’s chief strategy officer, adding that the private development could take another 18 to 24 months. The current Cape Fear Museum on Market Street will be transformed into a research and development division of the new museum, with archives and collections, Rigby said. Main library services at the current Chestnut Street location will remain open during construction. “The north side of the block will be constructed where the new library and the new museum will go; then the library can move over to the new facility, 2 0 2 2

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and then the existing library can be turned into private development,” Rigby said. Construction of the new library and museum comes with a lease rate of $4.5 million per year for 20 years, Rigby said. While the cost is to taxpayers, Rigby noted there will be a new revenue stream from the private development. “We believe this will be a cultural experience like none other,” Rigby said of the project. “Our hope is that it will really richly enhance the quality of life in New Hanover County.” With his various projects, Landon Zimmer emphasized the importance of working with nearby cities and neighborhoods, even if it means having to change plans. “The project has always benefited because at the end you’ve got a little more local flavor, you get local knowledge where we might be lacking,” Zimmer said. “That’s something we always try to do is incorporate a lot of local historic factors in any redevelopment, even if it is formerly industrial.” Outside of the development company, Zimmer is chairman of the N.C. Department of Transportation’s technology committee, chairman of the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission’s finance committee and vice chairman of the habitat, nongame and endangered species committee. “I was an Eagle Scout growing up, always enjoyed the outdoors, hunting and fishing,” Zimmer said, later adding, “As a child you see loggerhead sea turtles … you learn about them, and their populations are dwindling.” When asked if green space is a priority in development, he said that it’s a positive externality. “People want areas to hang out, in apartments or multifamily areas –they want more green space, they want trails,” Zimmer said. “That’s something that people are really looking into – walkability.”


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 1 FLATS ON FRONT (APARTMENTS)

ADDRESS

PRICE

BUYER

SELLER

1045 N. FRONT ST.

$97,500,000

BROOKFIELD REAL ESTATE INCOME TRUST INC.

DPJ RESIDENTIAL AND CHAUCER CREEK CAPITAL

2

AVALON APARTMENTS

327 GUINEVERE LANE

$79,000,000

SOUTHWOOD REALTY

EVOLVE COMPANIES

3

THE RESERVE AT MAYFAIRE (APARTMENTS)

1411 PARKVIEW CIRCLE

$76,000,000

CONTINENTAL REALTY FUND V

STATE STREET COMPANIES

OASIS AT RIVERLIGHTS

4027 WATERCRAFT AVE.

$63,750,000

RAS REALTY PARTNERS

MIDDLEBURG COMMUNITIES

ONE MIDTOWN APARTMENT HOMES

2945 MIDTOWN WAY

$59,464,000

SREIT ONE MIDTOWN LLC

STRATA MIDTOWN LLC

HAWTHORNE AT THE POINT (TOWNHOMES)

3215 MIDVALE DRIVE

$48,500,000

HAWTHORNE RESIDENTIAL PARTNERS

GHK CAPE FEAR DEVELOPMENT

CEV WILMINGTON (STUDENT HOUSING)

455 RACINE DRIVE

$35,700,000

PEPTV WILMINGTON OWNER LLC

CEV WILMINGTON LP

4861 COLLEGE ACRES DRIVE

$33,526,000

SREIT CYPRESS POINTE APARTMENTS LLC

STRATA CYPRESS LLC

9

CYPRESS POINTE APARTMENTS THE QUAD APARTMENTS

734 N MACMILLAN AVE.

$27,070,000

SREIT QUAD LLC

STRATA QUAD LLC

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THE PINES OF WILMINGTON

1

4 5

4

6 7 8

5

PROPERTY

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MONUMENT WILMINGTON LLC SOURCES: NEW HANOVER COUNTY PROPERTY TAX RECORDS AND DEEDS; GREATER WILMINGTON BUSINESS JOURNAL ARTICLES 1002 MAYFLOWER DRIVE

$22,000,000

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EWT 78 LLC

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MARKET SNAPSHOT

IN WILMINGTON

BUILDING SALES

SIGNIFICANT OFFICE

2021 2

OCCUPANT / FUTURE OCCUPANT

4

5

10

ADDRESS

SQFT

SALE PRICE

1

MEGACORP LOGISTICS AND MORE

1051, 1055 AND 1111 MILITARY CUTOFF ROAD

63,000

$15,200,000

2 3

WILMINGTON SURGCARE

1801 S. 17TH ST.

24,757

$15,000,000

EASTERN NEPHROLOGY ASSOCIATES

1302 MEDICAL CENTER DRIVE

17,000

$6,461,500

NOVANT HEALTH OFFICES

2605 IRON GATE DRIVE

22,492

$4,500,000

COASTAL HORIZONS CENTER INC.

2425 S. 17TH ST.

13,100

$2,500,000

COLONIAL MARKETING GROUP AND MORE

3901 OLEANDER DRIVE

12,003

$1,825,000

ESP ASSOCIATES INC. AND MORE

211 RACINE DRIVE

2,820

$1,660,500

8 9

BLITZ RESEARCH AND MORE

5512 BUSINESS DRIVE

12,935

$1,650,000

MEDICAL OFFICES

1920 S. 16TH ST.

6,752

$1,525,000

10

CONRAD & WILSON ORAL MAXILLOFACIAL SURGERY

7320 MARKET ST.

6,000

$1,400,00

4 5 6

10

7

SOURCES: JC MORGAN CO., COSTAR

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* in New Hanover and Pender counties

SELECT INDUSTRIAL LEASES

MARKET SNAPSHOT

COMPANY 1 2 3 4 5

2021

6 7 8 9

10 11 12 13

SOURCES: JC MORGAN CO., COSTAR, COLDWELL BANKER SUN COAST PARTNERS

14 15

ADDRESS (MARKET)

SIZE (sq ft)

PACON MANUFACTURING

421 LANDMARK DRIVE, PORT

106,500

PAPERFOAM

4220 U.S. 421 N., NEW HANOVER OUTLYING

101,438

COASTAL CARRIERS

4220 U.S. 421 N. NEW HANOVER OUTLYING

56,172

EIJKELKAMP

6707 NETHERLANDS DRIVE, MARKET ST. CORRIDOR

35,700

COLONY TIRE CORP.

33 ACME WAY, WEST PENDER COUNTY

28,462

INDIC GROUP HOLDINGS

1200 CASTLE HAYNE ROAD, AIRPORT

25,000

SUNBELT RENTALS

4102 EMERSON ST., MIDTOWN

23,500

UNITS MOVING & PORTABLE STORAGE

1830 CARVER DRIVE, WEST PENDER COUNTY

21,240

OLD GROWTH RIVERWOOD

1407 CASTLE HAYNE ROAD, AIRPORT

13,440

PORT CITY SIGNS & GRAPHICS

2027 CAPITAL DRIVE, AIRPORT

12,000

ALOHA WILMINGTON REAL ESTATE AND MORE

1901 KENT ST., MIDTOWN

8,626

BLUE BELL ICE CREAM

3006 HALL WATERS DRIVE, AIRPORT

5,400

CAPE FEAR MARTIAL ARTS

301 N. GREEN MEADOWS ROAD, MARKET STREET CORRIDOR

4,800

WAREHOUSE SKATEBOARDS

6625 AMSTERDAM WAY, MARKET STREET CORRIDOR

4,000

BLUE HAND HOME

301 N. GREEN MEADOWS ROAD, MARKET STREET CORRIDOR

3,900

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RESTAURANT R O U ND U P

RESTAURANT ROUNDUP

BUILDING THE

LINE BY KYLE HANLIN | PHOTO BY TERAH HOOBLER

Brunswick Community College students train at the school’s recently opened culinary arts center.

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ET’S ADMIT IT. FOOD IS FOR EVERYONE. IT IS ESSENTIAL TO LIFE, LENDS A LOT TO LIFESTYLE AND CREATES JOBS.

There are television networks solely dedicated to food programming. Entire sections of bookstores house volumes upon volumes of diet books, cookbooks and other literature from nutrition experts, medical professionals and celebrity chefs. Food and restaurant critics’ reviews appear in newspapers, magazines and websites, as well as on radio, YouTube and more. But, closer to home, there are restaurants in every town and every shopping center along most main roads, and every one of those restaurants need chefs, sous chefs, line cooks and more to operate. Given all of that, as well as the expansive population growth and tourism in the Cape Fear region, it’s no wonder that Brunswick Community College (BCC) opened its Douglas Terhune Center for Culinary Arts in October. “It’s brand new and has all modern equipment,” said Jonathan Babirak, 31, one of the program’s current students. “We have great direction and leaders to show us what we need to do and learn.” The school’s website for its culinary arts program states the goal of “preparing future working cooks and chef assistants in providing courses for students desiring personal enrichment and enhancing the skills and professional qualifications of chefs and cooks currently employed in the industry.” For students like Jamal Davidson, the program is teaching him kitchen skills and cooking techniques that add to the real-world knowledge he has gained in his six years in the industry. Davidson, 27,

RESTAURANT ROUNDUP

currently bounces between the many kitchen stations at Bald Head Island Club where he works on the line alongside Babirak, a sous chef. “I want to have all-around experience as far as every station and aspect in the kitchen,” Davidson said. “Also, it’s important for me to have a certification, that paperwork, to say that I’ve accomplished this, I can do this and I can work in any kitchen, in any restaurant around the United States, and that someday I will have the option to be a chef, whether that is a sous chef or an executive chef.” The culinary arts program falls under the umbrella of BCC’s Continuing Education/Workforce Development department, which provides similarly focused programs for beauty and wellness/licensure, computer application training, emergency services training, health care, real estate and trades. Lisa Schultz, the college’s coordinator of community service programs, oversees the culinary arts program. “The big thing for us is that we are sending out trained employees from the Culinary Center, whereas the employees are not having to do so much hands-on training,” Schultz said. “They’re going to have that training coming in. Restaurants are going to get a better quality of employee because they will be learning those skills before they get there and not having to be trained on the job.” The Culinary Arts Center, named for BCC trustee Douglas Terhune whose gift to the college helped to convert the school’s original cafeteria into a state-ofthe-art learning kitchen, is located in Building A at the college’s main campus in Bolivia. Building A also serves as home base for the school’s administration and student center. Beyond serving as the program’s learning kitchen,

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Schultz says that the school does hope to eventually serve actual meals at the center. “We are currently just a teaching school, so we do not have permission to serve to the public as of yet,” Schultz said. “I am working on that as we speak. I am meeting with the health department as that is one of our goals, to be able to serve to the public, because we want (the students) to learn that aspect. But we have to grow a little bit.” Growing into other aspects of working in the restaurant and foodservice industry is a longerterm goal of the school’s culinary arts program. Aside from food preparation, students in the program currently gain some experience in serving as well as operating with a point-of-sale system, allowing them to take orders electronically inputted by front-of-house staff. “We plan to hopefully offer all of the skills, eventually,” Schultz said. “Of course, we are going to have to build on what we have, but we hope to keep adding classes and building. We have been talking about adding food trucks for those people that want to start food trucks. We are always thinking of different ways to add to the program and to offer anything that we think will help the county.” Student Josh Ruhe, 34, is hoping that the accomplishment of completing the program and its curriculum will help him grow in his chosen field. “This is my life career that I’m on right now,” said Ruhe, who also works as a sous chef at Bald Head Island Club. “This is what I do. I’ve been doing it for about 18 years now, and it’s just something that I really enjoy doing.” For more restaurant news, sign up for the Business Journal’s weekly Restaurant Roundup email by going to WilmingtonBiz.com.

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KEEPING PROMISES

If you can build it, we can insure it.

SINCE 1954

1508 MILIT

WWW. 910.25 1508 MILITARY CUTOFF RD, STE. 104 WILMINGTON, NC 28403

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(910) 777-5995 | www.hamlet-law.com Offices in Wilmington and Raleigh, N.C.

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Kelly M. Barco Associate Attorney

Brennan B. Ferguson Associate Attorney


THE TAKEAWAY

UP

IN

FORGET SHAKEN, NOT STIRRED. POP THE TOP ARE THE DIRECTIONS FOR ONE OF SAUCE’D’S MOST POPULAR DRINKS. The “When Doves Cry” cocktail shown here includes tequila, muddled cucumber, lime and grapefruit, a splash of simple syrup and an edible bubble on top, filled with passon fruit aroma in the vapors. Business partners Courtney Osgood and Jeremiah Ramos opened Sauce’d in November at 224 S. Water St. with a whittled-down focus on signature and classic cocktails as well as a curated beer and wine list. The menu also is hyper-focused: four types of fries with a dozen house-made sauces. “Along with (extended hours for the spring and summer season),” Osgood said, “we’ll be rolling out a brunch cocktail program that will feature fun, flirty mimosas, a trio of bloody marys and some fun seasonal cocktails that’ll be as beautiful as they are delicious.”

SMOKE photo by MICHAEL CLINE SPENCER

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