WilmingtonBiz Magazine - 2023 Commercial Real Estate

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Greater WilminGton BUSINESS JOURNAL Published by 2023 commercial real estate issue
MAGAZINE Greater WilminGton BUSINESS JOURNAL Published by SPRING 2023 THE OFFICE IS CALLING MIXED-USE IN THE MIX WHAT’S BREWING IN BRUNSWICK COUNTY HOTELIERS CHECK INTO HOSPITALITY’S NEXT PHASE staying staying POWER POWER
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2023 R eal e state I ssue 3 wilmington bizmagazine.com Wilmington | Raleigh | Charleston | Myrtle Beach www.monteithco.com
2023 R eal e state I ssue 5 wilmington bizmagazine.com CONTENTS W ilmington B iz MAGAZINE | 2023 REAL ESTATE ISSUE | VOLUME VI | ISSUE 1 7 LETTER FROM THE EDITOR 9 BIZ BITES 10 SOUND OFF 14 BEHIND THE NUMBERS 16 THE DIGEST 36 TRENDS 49 THE TAKEAWAY 18 COVER STORY: HONING IN ON HOTELS 24 OFFICE UPDATES 29 MIXED-USE MEDLEY 32 IN PROFILE: CHRIS BONEY 38 IN PROFILE: KELLY STUART 43 MARKET SNAPSHOT 46 RESTAURANT ROUNDUP: WHAT'S BREWING UP DEPARTMENTS FEATURES
ON THE COVER 46 38 9
Photographer Daria Amato photographed the newly renovated Lumina on Wrightsville Beach hotel.

HOLD MY LAPTOP WHILE i pet this

FOUR DOGS WALK INTO A BOOKSTORE ON A TUESDAY AFTERNOON.

They make their way into the coffee shop in the Barnes & Noble at Mayfaire Town Center. I’m sitting at a table by the back wall, and I immediately close my laptop, my hand inching toward my phone.

This has to be some sort of sign from the universe: two of my favorite things – dogs and books – in one place all of a sudden during the workday.

The assistance dogs and their handlers settle at some tables in the corner, and I mosey on over to ask whether I can take a picture of them to send to my husband. A good 25% or more of our spousal texts are pictures of dogs, mainly our dog, a dust mop-terrier mix who could be an assistance dog if the assistance you need is of the LMAO variety at his acts of questionable intelligence.

Three of these bookstore dogs are in training, including a yellow Lab named Timber (pictured at right). I know this because I’ve now interrupted the handlers’ conversations to get all the details so I can include them in this WilmingtonBiz Magazine real estate issue because it all relates. (Wait one sec: I have to take a break here to rub the belly of our office dog, Bodie, also a yellow Lab, who has flipped over on his back, and we all know what that means.)

During my dog sighting at Barnes & Noble, I find out more about the assistance dogs from Seth Eure, program manager at paws4people, who explains that this appearance in a public place helps with training.

As for the reason behind my presence in the Barnes & Noble coffee shop, I’m using the technique of finding a different setting, outside of our office near Mayfaire, to jumpstart some writing. When the pandemic sent office workers home three years ago, it felt safer to work remotely and was OK for a little while, but I need the office mindset that comes with actually getting real clothes on (aka not pajamas/loose-fitting blobs of cloth) and going there. At the same time, occasionally leaving

the office to work in a coffee shop or at the Northeast Branch of the New Hanover County Public Library (what a surprise, she’s a library nerd too) was a useful focusing tool for me before COVID-19 and remains a tactic.

On the dog-bookstore day, I used it to finish my office space story (page 24), in which I share insight from office owners and brokers about how office space in Wilmington seems to be in better shape than in larger cities in North Carolina and the U.S. I know a lot of people are still working from home, but I wouldn’t have met Timber and his pals, or just helped Bodie with his need for a belly rub, if it weren’t for a culture of flexibility that also incorporates office space.

2023 R eal e state I ssue 7 wilmington bizmagazine.com LETTER FROM THE EDITOR
dog

DARIA AMATO

DARIA AMATO is a native New Yorker and School of Visual Arts graduate. Throughout her 30 years of experience, she has photographed a range of editorial, advertising, company branding, and corporate clients in addition to music, fashion, portraiture, weddings and still life. Amato shot Wilmington hotels ARRIVE and Lumina on Wrightsvlle Beach for this year's commercial real estate issue cover and hotels story ( PAGE 18 ).

TERAH HOOBLER

TERAH HOOBLER is a Wilmington-based freelance photojournalist with over 16 years’ experience in photography and art. She is a mom of three, an artist, and an avid coffee drinker. In this issue, Hoobler photographed three stories in this year’s commercial real estate edition, portraying the activity at the office of MegaCorp Logistics (PAGE 24) and capturing the personalities of profile subjects Kelly Stuart (PAGE 38), and Chris Boney (PAGE 32).

LAURA MOORE

LAURA MOORE is an English professor at Cape Fear Community College in one of the top three-rated English departments in the state. In addition to education, she has a background in public relations and journalism. Moore profiled commercial real estate broker and leader Kelly Stuart ( PAGE 38 ).

LYNDA VAN KUREN

LYNDA VAN KUREN , a transplant from the D.C.-metro area, is a freelance writer and content marketer whose work has appeared in national as well as regional publications. She loves connecting with others, whether through writing, ballet, or training her dogs for agility competitions. Van Kuren wrote about architect Chris Boney as he carries on a family tradition ( PAGE 32).

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Rob Kaiser rkaiser@wilmingtonbiz.com

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e ditor

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V ice P resident of s A les & M A rketing

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s enior M A rketing c onsult A nts

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c ontributing P hotogr AP hers

Daria Amato, Megan Deitz, Aris Harding, Terah Hoobler, Allison Joyce

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8 W ilmington B iz MAGAZINE CONTRIBUTORS
MAGAZINE 2023 REAL ESTATE ISSUE – $4.95
Wilmington B iz

B iz B I tes

BUILDING TALENT Kids Making It

volunteer Woody Woodward works with Zach, 13, to build a birdhouse during the Kids Making It after-school program at its 617 Castle St. woodworking facility. Kids Making It moved into its new Castle Street building in 2021, starting a skilled trades program at the beginning of 2022.

With the skilled trades program, “we wanted to try to be able to serve our students later in life and to be able to connect them with a lesser-known opportunity that’s in high demand,” said Kevin Blackburn, the organization’s executive director.

Founder Jimmy Pierce started Kids Making It more than 20 years ago. The new facility includes a gift shop where Zach will be able to sell his birdhouse when he’s finished.

2023 R eal e state I ssue 9 wilmington bizmagazine.com
SOUND OFF | BEHIND THE NUMBERS | THE DIGEST
photo by ARIS HARDING

SOUND OFF M WEIGHING I n on PROJECTS

AJOR DEVELOPMENT LEADERS SHARED UPDATES AND PERSPECTIVES MARCH

2 ON THEIR WILMINGTON-AREA PROJECTS, FROM DOWNTOWN TRANSFORMATIONS TO PROJECTS UNDERWAY NEAR WRIGHTSVILLE BEACH.

In addition to Wilmington Mayor Bill Saffo, the panel included Brian Eckel, co-founder of Cape Fear Commercial and partner in Cape Fear Development; Andy Hewitt, partner in Soda Pop District development firm Parastream Development; Donna Girardot, chief strategy officer for CIL Capital and chair of the New Hanover County Planning Board; and developer David Swain of Swain & Associates.

MAYOR BILL SAFFO

Saffo shared that the city’s purchase of properties in northern downtown has given the city “a seat at the table” to determine what that area’s transformation, dubbed the Gateway Project, could include.

The city is working with East West Partners, the same firm that served as Wilmington’s partner in a project to replace a defunct parking deck with the mixed-use building River Place.

“This (the Gateway Project) is going to be very similar to that … we will have a mixed-use development there that would involve housing or apartments or condos, would have some parking, would involve a hotel, would involve an office building, and it would also possibly involve a food hall with the concepts that we’re talking about currently that you may have seen in other communities,” Saffo said.

DAVID SWAIN

Swain’s Wilmington-based firm is working with South Carolina-based The Beach Company on Center Point, a 1 million-square-foot development on Military Cutoff and Eastwood roads. There, across from an entrance to the

Landfall neighborhood and New Hanover County’s Northeast Branch library, grading recently started on the 23-acre site that is expected to hold apartments, retailers, parking structures and a hotel.

The N.C. Department of Transportation is using about 3 acres for the extension of Drysdale Drive and an eventual overpass to address traffic at that intersection.

Center Point’s plan has changed since Swain initially talked about it at a Power Breakfast three years ago.

“It is morphing,” he said. “The world has started to change, specifically related to office buildings.”

Plans call for four buildings fronting Military Cutoff Road to include more than 30,000 square feet of retail and restaurant space, Swain said.

An office building, another 135,000 square feet of retail and a hotel – the brand for which has not yet been identified – is planned for future phases, he said.

BRIAN ECKEL

Sharing details about one of his development projects, Eckel and his firm are working with New Hanover County in a public-private partnership, having completed a new 130,000-squarefoot government center building that county employees are currently moving into, Eckel said.

“They’ve been in the old Marketplace Mall for the last 20 years, which served its purpose,” Eckel said of the government complex off South College Road and Racine Drive.

The theme for the government center portion of the redevelopment project “was resiliency and efficiency. They’re coming from an extremely inefficient building. So we wanted to create a new home for them that was extremely efficient. We did that,” he said.

As part of the private portion of the development, Eckel’s company plans to build a mixed-use development with 250 apartments on top of retail space.

(Read about more of Cape Fear Development's work on pages 29-30)

10 W ilmington B iz MAGAZINE Biz B I tes
SWAIN DAVID ECKEL BRIAN GIRADOT DONNA SAFFO
ANDY
MAYOR BILL HEWITT

ANDY HEWITT

Hewitt talked to the Power Breakfast audience about another transformation, this one in the Soda Pop District in downtown Wilmington. He explained to the crowd that the district can be loosely described as running from 7th to 12th streets between Market and Chestnut with Princess Street acting as the main commercial corridor. A major piece of the district is the former Coca-Cola bottling facility, which Hewitt’s company has turned into an adaptive reuse project.

Parastream Development has filled 88% of its adapted space, Hewitt said.

“Since 2020, we’ve welcomed 16 new businesses just in our project in the Soda Pop District, not including other people’s properties that they’re working on,” he said.

DONNA GIRARDOT

Girardot said CIL is building and planning integral industrial facilities at the Wilmington International Airport (ILM) Business Park.

“What we’re looking at having on the ground within the next 18 months is $250 million worth of investment, four buildings, four parcels and 1.5 million square feet under roof,” Girardot said. “So that is pretty aggressive, but we’re moving forward with the times as fast as we can.”

She said the first building will be used for cold storage of pharmaceuticals, and CIL is working with “some of the world’s largest, the nation’s largest, pharmaceutical companies … to provide cold storage for their pharmaceuticals.”

The second building will be used to service the Research Triangle Park area of the state and will create a direct route directly to the coast for them for shipping and flexibility and timeliness, Girardot said.

CROWD SOURCING

REACTIONS, OPINIONS AND QUOTABLES FROM OUR ONLINE SOUNDING BOARDS

ON FACEBOOK.COM/WILMINGTONBIZ

RESPONSE TO HEADLINE: TARGET WOULD HIT BULLSEYE WITH MONKEY JUNCTION LOCATION, BROKERS SAY

“I’M TIRED & DONE with walking around stores that big. I have a 100,000 sq ft grocery & walking to the back for milk & bacon is a workout, certainly not in the future of my shopping.” – BLAKE GIBSON

“BRUNSWICK COUNTY NEEDS one, a super target! Going to Walmart gets old.” – LISA LYNN

“BEEN WAITING MORE than 20 years for this. I'll be surprised if it happens, but it's funny that the proposed location is *exactly* the location that all of us initially thought a long time ago …" – CHRIS GAWINSKI BUTLER

“TRAFFIC IN AND out will be horrendous.” – EVELYN B MEARES

HOW OFTEN DO YOU WORK REMOTELY?*

MOST-READ STORIES ONLINE FROM JAN. 1-MARCH 17

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5.

6. TARGET WOULD HIT BULLSEYE in Monkey Junction, brokers say

7. NCINO lays off 7% of workforce

8. DRIFT COFFEE shop owners bringing cafe to Hanover Center

9. New year, new nonstop: Delta launches seasonal service from ILM TO BOSTON

10. Goodnight BUYS CASTLE STREET properties with plans for renovations, repairs

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At Mayfaire, WESTIN BRAND HOTEL on way Prost delivers fresh take on classic GERMAN BEER GARDEN Shopping center PLANNED IN LELAND , could include Publix UNTAPPD taps out of downtown Wilmington office building Thomas Construction to start soon on NEW AZIZ RESTAURANT , offers sneak peek

SOUND OFF

HE PANDEMIC

MOUHCINE

GUETTABI

REMOTE AND RESHORE T

a strong factor in counteracting these changes.

That trend is reshoring, which refers to the process of returning the production of manufacturing goods back to the company’s original country.

According to a recent survey of 25,000 individuals by McKinsey & Co., 58% of Americans say they have the opportunity to work from home at least once a week.

This taste for remote work coupled with pandemic concerns and the change in the nature of work has resulted in a significant increase in the number of Americans who are now working remotely and infrequently using the office.

Between 2019 and 2021, the number of people primarily working from home tripled from 5.7% (roughly 9 million people) to 17.9% (27.6 million people), according to recently released results from the 2021 American Community Survey (ACS) by the U.S. Census Bureau.

At the state level, ACS estimates that 18.8% of workers in North Carolina worked from home, which is 0.9 percentage points higher than the national average. These changes have affected commuting, public transportation and perhaps most glaringly office use.

While travel, restaurant bookings and attendance at live

events are all either near or back to pre-pandemic levels, office occupancy still lags.

According to Kastle Systems, a company that tracks office occupancy using swipe data, they find that as of February, office use is only 50.4% of pre-pandemic levels.

Even as some firms become more determined in bringing people back to the office, the remote work trend seems to be persistent, which raises questions about the demand for office space going forward and whether an increasing number of companies will be re-evaluating this expenditure.

In addition to the disruption to office life, the Federal Reserve’s quest to fight inflation has come at the cost of higher interest rates that have affected both the residential and commercial real estate markets.

For commercial markets, the cost of borrowing will likely influence transactional activity in 2023.

Economic headwinds along with the potential structural change in office culture will likely disrupt the traditional office.

This, however, does not mean that commercial spaces are going to be sitting empty.

That is because another trend caused by the pandemic may serve as

The supply disruptions experienced during the past two years have made many companies revisit where they source their products, the reliability of that sourcing and whether bringing some of the production closer to them may be beneficial.

Last year, for example, Intel announced that it was bringing two new semiconductor plants to Arizona, and General Motors revealed that it was reshoring its battery production to Michigan. These changes do not seem to be isolated and are driven by a combination of supply chain concerns, international tension and a desire to have more control over production decisions.

While office life and office use might be on the decline, the reshoring trend will likely boost demand for commercial spaces as more companies re-evaluate their supply chains.

Commercial space needs are likely to look different in the future than they do today, and it will therefore be important to remain flexible in the face of the sea change we are observing.

Mouhcine Guettabi is a regional economist with UNCW’s Swain Center and an associate professor of economics in UNCW’s Cameron School of Business.

2023 R eal e state I ssue 13 wilmington bizmagazine.com Biz B I tes
CHANGED MANY ECONOMIC REALITIES AROUND THE WORLD BUT PERHAPS NONE HAVE BEEN AS PERSISTENT AS THE ROLE OF REMOTE WORK.

BEHIND THE NUMBERS

AIRPORT CAPITAL IMPROVEMENTS FOR THE NEXT 5 YEARS

$165

MILLION

ILM OUTLINES PLAN FOR FUTURE GROWTH

COMING OFF THE HEELS OF A RECORD-BREAKING year of growth at Wilmington International Airport, officials in early March shared a vision plan for the next five years, which includes $165 million in capital improvements to bring the facilities up to par with passenger numbers.

With six new nonstop routes and two new airlines announced last year, plus larger aircraft used by legacy carriers like American Airlines and Delta Air Lines, ILM surpassed 1 million total passengers in 2022. Airport director Jeff Bourk said data indicates the airport’s departing passenger traffic will likely swell by 15% this year.

Amid this growth, Bourk said the airport faces some “infrastructure constraints” that the five-year plan will address. Chief among them, he said, is the terminal’s front curb.

While the terminal itself was recently expanded to meet ballooning passenger numbers – a new concourse with three additional gates was unveiled last year – the terminal’s curb has not been updated since the facility was built nearly 35 years ago. Both Airport Boulevard and the front curb will be reworked with a price tag hovering around $50 million. This project is intertwined with another top priority given the airport’s high passenger numbers: insufficient parking.

The airport currently offers about 1,500 parking spots, and during the busiest hours of the busiest days, Bourk said this number falls short of demand. A temporary lot will bring 115 new spots this summer, followed by another 500 spots with a second temporary lot added in November. Within the next five years, a parking deck will bring a final boost to the airport’s available parking. Other capital improvement priorities include runway maintenance, relocation of a taxiway for aircraft and investments into general aviation facilities for storage of private aircraft (including potential installation of a new fuel pump on the eastern side of the airfield). Funded from a variety of sources including cash reserves and both federal and state grants, airport officials emphasized that the $165 million price tag for the improvements will not be assumed by county taxpayers or airport passengers. The airport has ample cash reserves, Bourk said, adding that “it’s time to spend some of that.”

$

IS

95%

BUILT OUT EQUITY FUNDING COMPANIES RAISED IN 2022

73 MILLION

SQUARE MILES VISITOR SPENDING

33.4%

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WILMINGTON WILMINGTON
Sources: City of Wilmington, Council for Entrepreneurial Development, Visit North Carolina
INCREASE IN BRUNSWICK COUNTY SIZE OF WILMINGTON (IN THE CITY LIMITS) EASTERN NC 2020 to 2021 51
WILMINGTON

BRUNSWICK COUNTY AIMS FOR A STADIUM HOME RUN

If a minor league baseball team does land in Leland, financing for the stadium complex and related improvements are not expected to come from a bond issue or an increase in local taxes, according to officials working on the proposal.

Early plans call for a 3,500-seat stadium with parking, a convention center and a hotel. The 25-acre development could also contain retail, restaurant and office space.

“One decision we’ve made: We want to fund the project without using tax dollars,” Haynes Brigman, Brunswick County deputy manager, said during a March 7 briefing with media. He said that officials believe revenues generated by the complex would be sufficient for Leland’s and Brunswick County’s share of expenses. “There will be no bond issue and no tax increase,” Brigman said.

“We’ll match money from the town and county dollar for dollar,” said Sean Decker, president of REV Entertainment.

REV Entertainment, based in Arlington, Texas, is the management partner for a variety of sports teams, including the Texas Rangers.

If studies indicate that the minor league project is feasible, the next step would be to issue contracts for the work, Decker said. A reasonable estimate would be a 24-month construction period, with an opening day in 2026, although it could be sooner, he added.

Early reports had it that the minor league team would be a Texas Rangers franchise. Decker said that initially the Leland team would likely be an independent Single-A team but could affiliate with the Texas Rangers in the future.

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THE
DIGEST

ROOM CHANGE FOR

Renovations position local hotels for success in the postpandemic landscape

S 2020 CAME TO A CLOSE, MANY HOTELS FACED LEDGERS THAT WERE REMARKABLY IN THE RED.

That year, hotels nationwide lost nearly $84 billion in room revenue alone, halving projected revenue based on 2019 figures according to data in the American Hotel & Lodging Association’s 2023 State of the Hotel Industry report.

Amidst this industrywide turbulence, California-based Palisociety was finalizing a deal to acquire four new boutique hotels in a move that immediately boosted its portfolio of properties by nearly 40%. Downtown Wilmington’s ARRIVE was one of the hotels absorbed under the Palisociety banner, and within the first month of the new year, the hotel closed for renovations.

At a time when hoteliers across the country were unsure of what the future would hold, a consideration of age-old hospitality traditions emboldened Palisociety’s move forward. The pandemic led the company to double down on its mission to provide what Jorgan von Stiening, Palisociety’s president, described as the “elements of classic, timeless hospitality” that customers desire.

“Above all else, they want a warm welcome. They want a beautifully designed room. They want a great minibar. They want a great cocktail at the bar. They want great room service,” von Stiening said. “These are not trends. This is what hospitality’s been for about 100 years, 1,000 years.”

Palisociety was not the only hotelier willing to forge a path into the post-pandemic future. Around the same time, South Carolina-based OTO Development purchased Lumina on Wrightsville Beach, a Holiday Inn Resort, then known as Holiday Inn Resort Wilmington East-Wrightsville Beach.

Lumina on Wrightsville Beach underwent its own renovation beginning in October 2021, with the facility’s new look revealed last summer.

The most recent to embark on this process is the Blockade Runner Beach Resort, which was sold to New York-based Castle Peak Holdings by longtime

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owners Mary Baggett Martin and Bill Baggett in December. In announcing the acquisition, Castle Peak Holdings revealed its intent to revamp the historical resort, which has operated at that site for decades.

For hoteliers with the means to do so, a refreshed look yields an edge to properties able to make the investment, a point emphasized by OTO Development CEO Todd Turner.

“A fresh look and improved amenities help hotels compete with every property in the hospitality space,” Turner said.

Many big hotel brands require periodic renovations of their property, he added, although some companies temporarily loosened those requirements for hard-hit markets during the pandemic.

The redesign of the resort on Wrightsville Beach’s northern end channeled the iconic Lumina Pavilion, which opened in the early 20th century as a paean to

the burgeoning development of electricity. Imbued with abundant natural light, the property’s new look is airy and light in a nod to its namesake. Borrowing from the ocean’s color palette, blue accents enliven a generally neutral motif throughout the hotel, as do textural elements including rattan, rope and beadboard.

Lumina on Wrightsville Beach appears to have reaped the benefits of its renovation. In its 2023 report, the American Hotel & Lodging Association noted that business travel – particularly convention and group travel – has not fully rebounded to pre-pandemic levels.

Lumina general manager Brian Elliott said the resort’s current numbers indicate growth over pre-pandemic figures, and while a slight majority of stays at Lumina on Wrightsville Beach are booked for leisure, convention and group travel at the resort contribute to that trend. For example, the hotel was sold out

ABOVE ALL ELSE, THEY WANT A WARM WELCOME. THEY WANT A BEAUTIFULLY DESIGNED ROOM. THEY WANT A GREAT MINIBAR. THEY WANT A GREAT COCKTAIL AT THE BAR. THEY WANT GREAT ROOM SERVICE. THESE ARE NOT TRENDS. THIS IS WHAT HOSPITALITY’S BEEN FOR ABOUT 100 YEARS, 1,000 YEARS.

2023 R eal e state I ssue 19 wilmington bizmagazine.com
” ”
Palisociety, parent company of Boutique hotel ARRIVE in downtown Wilmington was acquired by Palisociety last year and recently underwent renovations.

ROOM & BOARD

on a February weekday earlier this year due to a convention utilizing the property’s roughly 8,000 square feet of meeting space.

“We do have a lot of group rooms in the off-season that carry us through,” Elliott said.

Like Palisociety’s von Stiening, Turner said the company sees guest expectations as relatively consistent across time.

“Specifics may evolve but overall guest expectations don’t really change,” Turner said. “Travelers want a clean, comfortable room; authentic hospitality; and an experience that is worth the expense.”

In an echo of what Elliott observed, von Stiening said Palisociety’s design-driven properties

in cities across the country enjoyed a comparatively quick rebound from the pandemic-induced downturn in 2020.

“We saw our recovery be much faster than other hotel markets overall in pretty much every market where we have properties,” von Stiening said. “That’s because our properties are smaller than your typical hotel. It’s a much more leisure-focused traveler that is our guest, and we don’t necessarily rely on big corporate contracts or big conventions to fill our hotels.”

All hotels within the Palisociety brand are bound together by a cohesive aesthetic identity, the product of a CEO who leads an internal design team. Across the portfolio, the look is playful with layers of patterns, texture

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$25M $20M $15M $10M $5M 2018 2019 2020 2021 2022
NEW HANOVER COUNTY ROOM OCCUPANCY TAX COLLECTIONS (2018-2022)
$14,220,814 $15,515,878 $13,261,882 $21,156,916 $23,414,162
THE COUNTY COLLECTS A 6% TAX ON ALL STAYS AT HOTELS AND SHORT-TERM RENTALS. LAST YEAR’S COLLECTIONS, ONE INDICATOR OF HOW MANY VISITORS THE COUNTY IS DRAWING, SURPASSED PRE-PANDEMIC LEVELS. Source: Wilmington and Beaches CVB Following extensive renovations, Lumina on Wrightsville Beach revealed its updated design and amenities last summer. Lumina on Wrightsville Beach general manager Brian Elliott

and colors, often incorporating original architectural elements to inject a sense of place into each property. New furniture and artwork intermingle with locally sourced vintage finds, something the company calls “a classic Palisociety touch.”

All ARRIVE properties acquired by Palisociety in the 2020 deal were refreshed to align with company standards, but von Steining said ARRIVE Wilmington required more attention than others to fully bring it into the fold. The hotel was closed for a little more than a year for its renovation, reopening in February to reveal its fresh new look.

Palisociety’s focus on refining the guest experience puts the company

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WOMEN

in one of two camps that von Stiening described as emerging in the industry in the wake of the pandemic. The first is comprised of those like Palisociety who have prioritized an enhanced guest experience, while others have “commodotiz(ed) the product” to offer the lowest price point to customers. Those in the first camp, he suggested, have seen stronger rebounds from the effects of the pandemic.

Blockade Runner Beach Resort’s experience seems to back up von Stiening’s claim. The resort has traditionally attracted guests within driving distance of Wrightsville Beach, mostly from the Triangle. General manager Nicolas Montoya confirmed the resort has surpassed pre-pandemic levels, a benchmark that stretches further back in time for the Blockade Runner compared to other hotels due to the damage dealt by Hurricane Florence in 2018. The business moved quickly to address the damages, and Montoya said the property was “just getting back on our feet in the second half of 2019” before the pandemic struck the next spring.

Because the work in 2019 was a “forced renovation,” Montoya said it didn’t substantially alter the aesthetics of the 1960s-era Art Deco building.

“There was not a lot of time for design and inspiration,” he said.

When Castle Peak Holdings bought the property in December, they indicated an interest in undertaking a more intentional renovation of the space, including both common areas and the resort’s 151 guest rooms, all of which feature views of either the ocean or the sound.

While the new owners take inventory of the property and determine “the best idea on how to improve upon their investment,” Montoya stressed that any changes to the hotel will be loyal to the storied history of the property. The Blockade Runner marked 59 years of operation in March, and throughout the years, the location has consistently housed a hotel or other hospitality property from its prime position with access to both the Atlantic Ocean and Banks Channel.

“We have an important responsibility to carry that legacy,” Montoya said. “But the idea’s not to be the same old, same old. The idea is to innovate and adapt to incoming demands without losing our character and the things that have made us successful to generations of North Carolinians and beyond for many, many years.”

22 W ilmington B iz MAGAZINE
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June 16 & 17, 2023

2023 R eal e state I ssue 23 wilmington bizmagazine.com

meet

OFFICE me in the at 9

WHILE ACCEPTING REMOTE REALITY, WILMINGTON OFFICE INVESTORS CONTINUE TO SEE A NEED FOR SPACE

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ABIGAIL OLVERA CAN SEE WHY SOME PEOPLE WANT TO WORK FROM HOME.

“I think it’s very dependent on everyone’s specific work. I don’t think there’s one set rule that’s across-the-board gonna work for everyone,” said Olvera, the property manager for Wilmingtonbased MegaCorp Logistics and its owner, Ryan Legg. But Olvera (shown above) , who manages five

office buildings and more than 100,000 square feet for Legg in the Mayfaire area, finds more energy and efficiency in working with clients in person.

“I like to have my feet on the ground. I like to go and see if tenants are having issues, if people are having issues, if anything’s wrong. It’s better for me personally, and it’s better for personal relationships to have those face-to-face interactions,” she said.

Those who work in the commercial real estate industry in the Wilmington area say companies here seem to be holding on to their office space or seeking more, despite the massive acceleration of remote-

2023 R eal e state I ssue 25 wilmington bizmagazine.com

working trends spread by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Lindsey Hess, senior vice president at Wilmington-based real estate firm Cape Fear Commercial, represents office building owners in securing tenants.

“I think most people in our market feel like there’s a benefit to being in the office for socialization and collaboration,” said Hess, who prefers working at the office herself.

This view makes sense coming from commercial agents whose jobs can rely on finding office tenants and buyers, but the numbers seem to support the claim.

A recent CoStar Group report showed the area had a 2% office space vacancy rate in 2022 and the first quarter of 2023.

It’s difficult to measure exactly how many people in the Wilmington area are working from home. Regional economist Mouhcine Guettabi, a member of the University of North Carolina Wilmington’s economics faculty, said a Google Mobility Report from

October last year (when Google stopped updating the report) suggests that the return to work in New Hanover County has happened at a faster rate than some of the bigger metros around the country.

According to the Google report, people in New Hanover County are spending only 11% less time in workplaces relative to prepandemic times, Guettabi said.

Despite some well-known Wilmington vacancy examples that include the 12-story Thermo Fisher Scientific Inc. building downtown and the former Verizon call center off Shipyard Boulevard, developers continue to build offices in the area, and investors are still buying space.

In late February, MegaCorp’s Legg was in negotiations to buy another 32,000 square feet of office space in the Mayfaire area.

“We have about 400 employees here in town, and we’re going to hire at least 30 to 40 a year,” Legg said in late February. With another 32,000 square feet, “I could probably get 250 people in there.”

In another part of the

26 W ilmington B iz MAGAZINE
I THINK MOST PEOPLE IN OUR MARKET FEEL LIKE THERE’S A BENEFIT TO BEING IN THE OFFICE FOR SOCIALIZATION AND COLLABORATION.
LINDSEY HESS senior
vice president, Cape Fear Commercial
rendering c/o
Live Oak Bank recently started construction on a fourth office building at its midtown Wilmington campus.
Live Oak Bank

Wilmington area, Brunswick County, the development of office space is also proceeding.

Hess and Bryce Morrison, of Cape Fear Commercial, partnered at the end of last year with Wilmington-based SAMM Properties on The Offices & Shoppes of Waterford, 2040 Olde Regent Way next to the Waterford Harris Teeter. SAMM Properties developed the popular Offices at Mayfaire, in some cases filling the buildings before they were complete.

The Leland complex will have two, 38,000-square-foot buildings. The first of its three floors will feature high-end retail with an outdoor patio, while the second and third floors will be designed as Class A office/medical space.

The same development group has additional projects elsewhere, including a proposed $30 million office park in South Carolina.

“With projects in different stages in Wilmington, Brunswick County, Mount Pleasant, South Carolina, and Raleigh, we are having incredible activity, and the majority of it is coming from clients, especially medical clients, wanting the ability to purchase and there currently being a limited supply,” said Steve Anderson and Parker Anderson of SAMM Properties, in an emailed statement.

Some real estate industry professionals expect office development to slow this year. A slowdown would further limit supply, said Cal Morgan, a real estate appraiser and owner of JC Morgan Co., adding that as the market continues to grow in Wilmington, demand should increase here.

Articles examining office exoduses are mainly focused on some of the largest metro areas, such as New York and Los Angeles.

“It will probably impact us less here because we have many smaller businesses that need the office space and don’t swell, don’t have more office space than they need,” Morgan said.

A variety of local employers, including MegaCorp Logistics and Live Oak Bank for just two examples, are adding space as a result of a growing workforce.

Scheduled to be complete in early 2024, the fourth building on Live Oak Bank’s campus in midtown Wilmington, off Independence Boulevard, is expected to accommodate 200 new Live Oak employees. In a joint venture, Monteith Construction Corp. and Swinerton broke ground on the structure in March.

“Designed by LS3P, the fourstory building, surrounded by trees and situated in front of an expanded pond, features many biophilic elements intended to create a happier, healthier, more productive work environment,” stated a Monteith news release about the start of construction on Building 4.

Legg said amenities such as those offered by Live Oak and MegaCorp help bring workers to the office. Like Live Oak, MegaCorp’s offices include a restaurant and fitness center, as well as a salon, where employees can pay half of what they might normally shell out for food and services.

“They (his employees) love our restaurant. It’s called The Hub, and it’s phenomenal,” Legg said. “Our chef does a great job.”

Despite its amenities, the tallest office building in the city is basically empty and on the market after a pharma company said it makes more sense to look for a different space for its hybrid workforce. But the building might not be on the market too much longer.

Earlier this year, Wilmington city officials announced plans to offer $68 million to buy the 12-story Thermo Fisher office building and campus in downtown Wilmington to replace what they characterized as inefficient and insufficient city office space. Existing city office buildings, which are spread out around downtown and would cost well over $68 million to fix and replace, would

be sold.

Under the plan, the city would use up to half of the floors in the former PPD global headquarters and rent the other half out, officials have said.

In February, the Wilmington City Council approved a resolution to declare nine city-owned properties downtown as surplus contingent on its purchase of the Thermo Fisher campus.

Morgan said the prospects of buyer interest for office buildings that become available downtown are high.

“Whenever a quality multitenant property hits the market in Wilmington, it’s gobbled up pretty quickly due to the limited supply in our market,” he said.

A low supply of available office space isn’t the norm in some larger North Carolina cities.

“We’re getting ready to open up an office in Charlotte, and there’s a lot of space to look at,” Legg said.

MegaCorp also has offices in Jacksonville, Florida, and Cincinnati, Ohio. The firm has two in West Virginia, where Legg was born.

Most of Legg’s employees have come back to the office. His firm manages freight for hundreds of companies, including heavy-hitters Safeway, Harris Teeter and Walmart, and his sales team works to bring in new clients to connect with carriers.

“In a sales environment, just to have people and the energy and listen to the guy next to you make the phone call or have conversations with customers is vital to the sales,” Legg said. “We definitely encourage everybody to come in.”

But the company doesn’t have a strict policy about remote work, and those who do work from home have the same level of productivity as if they were in the office, said Legg, who was working at home during his WilmingtonBiz Magazine interview.

Legg sometimes likes remote working to cut down on distractions, but he said, “I would go crazy if I worked from home every day.”

2023 R eal e state I ssue 27 wilmington bizmagazine.com
28 W ilmington B iz MAGAZINE

MIXED

BAG

MAJOR

AUTUMN HALL 1202 EASTWOOD ROAD

STATUS: Established development with upcoming commercial, residential and hospitality additions

DESCRIPTION: Autumn Hall is a 236-acre mixed-use community with 173 single-family home sites, 286 multifamily units, including Carolina Bay at Autumn Hall developed by Liberty Health Care and 140,000 square feet of existing Class A office space.

DEVELOPER: Mike Brown with Cape Fear Development is the development manager.

TIMELINE: Construction on a fourth office building on Eastwood Road is underway, and Thomas Construction is expected to start in late summer.

THE AVENUE 347 MILITARY CUTOFF ROAD

STATUS: Under review by the city of Wilmington

DESCRIPTION: Plans have called for a hotel with meeting space, a spa island connected to the hotel, apartments and commercial space, including stores and restaurants.

DEVELOPER: The Carroll Companies, based in Greensboro

TIMELINE: First, crews will be tackling infrastructure and subsurface work on the site at 347 Military Cutoff Road, Roy Carroll, owner of The Carroll Companies, said in September.

CENTER POINT 1531 EASTWOOD ROAD

STATUS: Infrastructure work for the development and its apartments is underway.

DESCRIPTION: The 1 million-square-foot development on Military Cutoff and Eastwood roads on 23 acres is expected to hold apartments, storefronts, parking structures, a hotel and more. The N.C. Department of Transportation is using about 3 acres for a road extension that will link Military Cutoff to Eastwood via Drysdale Drive.

DEVELOPERS: Wilmington-based Swain & Associates and The Beach Company, headquartered in South Carolina

TIMELINE: It will take about a year to install infrastructure for the project’s first phase, 6.5 acres that will include a 75-foot-high apartment complex with 351 Class A residential units, first-floor retail and restaurant space.

2023 R eal e state I ssue 29 wilmington bizmagazine.com
MIXED-USE PROJECTS AND COMMUNITIES DON’T SPRING UP OVERNIGHT, AND IN SOME CASES, THEY CAN TAKE YEARS OR EVEN A DECADE TO COME TO LIFE. THE FOLLOWING ARE UPDATES ON SOME WILMINGTON-AREA MIXED-USE PROJECTS.

GATEWAY PROJECT

ADDRESS: Expected to include properties in the 900 and 1000 blocks of North Front Street in downtown Wilmington

STATUS: Envisioned

DESCRIPTION: The Gateway Project refers to the plans that have been underway in recent years between city officials and a development firm to transform the city’s northern entrance to downtown. The project, envisioned as a major mixed-use development, would involve city-owned properties and include public facilities, private residences and commercial space.

DEVELOPER: East West Partners

TIMELINE: Not yet determined

THE PROXIMITY AT CAROLINA BEACH

1000 LAKE PARK BLVD., CAROLINA BEACH

STATUS: Design phase

DESCRIPTION: A development that will contain 250 luxury apartment homes with 30,000 square feet of retail and restaurant space located on the former Harris Teeter site directly next to the town’s Publix grocery store

DEVELOPER: Cape Fear Development

PROJECT GRACE

201 CHESTNUT ST.

STATUS: Envisioned

DESCRIPTION: A redevelopment plan in the works for several years that would transform the New Hanover Countyowned 3-acre downtown Wilmington block bordered by Grace, Third, Chestnut and Second streets into a mixed-use complex with public and private facilities

DEVELOPER: As of press time, the project did not have a developer formally partnered with the county for the project, but officials with Wilmingtonbased firm Cape Fear Development were studying the possibility of getting involved.

TIMELINE: “We are really close to being ready to give our feedback, and we are excited with the process we have undertaken because of the benefit it will create for downtown,” said Brian Eckel, partner in Cape Fear Development.

TIMELINE: “We have selected Monteith Construction as our (general contractor) and plan to break ground early summer as we finalize the permitting process,” Eckel said.

7Bridge. With parcels for retail, entertainment, service commercial and offices, 7Bridge is part of a larger 120-acre mixed-use village with a variety of residential projects including Argento, a new multifamily luxury apartment community, and The Cottages at Riverlights, a singlefamily for-rent neighborhood.

RIVERLIGHTS

109 PIER MASTER POINT, SUITE 100

STATUS: Established masterplanned community with upcoming commercial and residential additions

DESCRIPTION: Riverlights, a 1,400-acre master-planned community along 3 miles of the Cape Fear River, is adding a 37-acre commercial village near its southern entrance called

DEVELOPERS: Riverlights is owned by a subsidiary of North America Sekisui House LLC and is managed by Brookfield Properties as part of the Newland communities portfolio. 7Bridge is being represented by Bridge Commercial, a regionally focused commercial real estate firm headquartered in South Carolina.

TIMELINE: All of The Cottages units are expected to be open this year, but new commercial space will not open until 2024 through 2025.

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LEGACY drafting a

PROFILE 32 W ilmington B iz MAGAZINE

ChRIs Boney’s BluepRInt foR CommunIty gRowth

For some, continuing a family’s legacy of architectural excellence would be a burden to carry. That isn’t the case for Chris Boney, chief relationships officer of the architectural firm LS3P. Boney welcomes the opportunity to build on the work of his family and, while doing so, to contribute to Wilmington’s commercial growth and advance the well-being of its residents.

To say Boney was surrounded by architecture as a child would be an understatement. His grandfather started Boney Architects in 1922, and his father, brother and cousins all worked for the firm. Boney, too, contributed to the family business. At 10 years old, he made prints for school buildings. As he grew up, Boney couldn’t imagine doing anything but architecture.

“I fell in love with the idea of building a structure that people inhabited and knowing that what we built has a profound effect on people’s lives,” Boney said. “I also had a passion for watching one’s imagination become reality. It was really powerful.”

Boney followed his passion and earned a bachelor’s degree in architecture from N.C. State University in 1994 and a master’s degree in architecture from the University of Virginia in 1997. He then joined his family’s firm and was put to work running blueprints and getting the mail.

“I began at the bottom,” Boney said. “Every once in a while they let me draw something.”

As Boney gained experience he started overseeing his own projects, including Live Oak Bank’s midtown headquarters, the Wilson Center at Cape Fear Community College and NHRMC’s Betty H. Cameron Women’s & Children’s Hospital and Surgical Pavilion. Designing the new medical buildings was especially poignant for Boney because the

original hospital was designed by his father and uncles in the 1960s.

“I was able to build on what they did and provide a great service to the community,” Boney said.

In 2005 Boney Architects merged with LS3P, a move that enabled Boney to expand the scope of his work into multiple commercial arenas as he grew professionally. Today, Boney holds the title of principal and vice president as well as chief relationships officer at LS3P. He also oversees the company’s business development team and 11 office leaders.

Boney’s current architectural projects include, among others, the expansion of Live Oak Bank’s campus, Wilmington’s Gateway Project for a multi-block mixeduse development planned in northern downtown, Autumn Hall’s commercial development, the redeveloped New Hanover County government complex and Liberty Health senior living communities.

The buildings Boney designs are intended to promote the community’s attraction for new businesses and enhance the lives of the residents who use them.

Though he is quick to credit his team for their contributions, Boney has received widespread recognition for his work.

He has received awards from the America Institute of Architects Wilmington and AIA North Carolina as well as Lower Cape Fear Stewardship Development Awards. In short, he has much to celebrate in the architectural world, including continuing the work of the firm his grandfather opened a century ago.

However, Boney’s architectural achievements are only one aspect of his commitment to Wilmington.

He has also taken on leadership roles in numerous local organizations including AIA Wilmington, Wilmington Chamber of Commerce, Wilmington Planning Commission, USS North Carolina Battleship Commission, Cameron

2023 R eal e state I ssue 33 wilmington bizmagazine.com
PROFILE

Art Museum, Thalian Hall Center for the Performing Arts and Lower Cape Fear Hospice Foundation.

“This community has raised me,” Boney said. “It has given me everything I have, and I am so fortunate. How can I not want to give back? I have not only a passion but a duty to serve what I think is the best community anywhere.”

Currently, Boney is serving in what he says is his most important role to date – a founding board member for the New Hanover Community Endowment, a more than $1 billion fund that is being used to promote social and health equity in the area. If the endowment is used thoughtfully and carefully, Wilmington could change the community – to attract businesses, improve the education system and develop an economy that “leaves no person behind,” according to Boney.

Boney’s commitment to his profession and town is what he learned from his family, and it is what he plans to continue doing, long into the future.

“I am a link in the chain,” he said. “Hopefully, my legacy will be to continue the work others began and pass along something that is equal to or better than that which was left for me.”

Chris Boney was part of last year’s WilmingtonBiz 100 as an Influencer. This year’s group will be announced in late September and highlighted in the December issue of WilmingtonBiz Magazine.

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We help small and mid-sized businesses become bigger businesses. That’s what we do. While the mega banks focus on the mega corporations, we see the value in building our local businesses.

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southernbank.com/wilmington
LaShanda Jacobs, Operations Manager CMC Building, Inc.

TRENDS TO WATCH

Inflation has not kept the business world from turning, and that means ongoing commercial real estate development. Gas stations with followings bordering on the fanatical are moving into the Wilmington area, as are retailers that haven’t established storefronts here before. As another sign of growth, industrial space and medical facilities keep coming, and businesses are looking beyond the boundaries of the city to reach more customers.

1

FUELING GROWTH

New gas station chains are on the way to the Wilmington area. One example: Pennsylvaniabased Sheetz submitted plans to the city of Wilmington in February for a planned store and gas station.

Proposed at 2435 Independence Blvd., the location would take the place on the corner of Independence and Shipyard boulevards where Barr Evergreens had long sold its pumpkins and Christmas trees on a seasonal basis.

Plans call for a 6,100-squarefoot store and a fuel canopy.

“Although it is too early to share details around when this store will open, Sheetz can confirm that we are in the planning stages for a store location along Independence Boulevard,” Nick Ruffner, public relations manager for Sheetz, said in a statement Feb. 27.

Sheetz has 15 locations in North Carolina, according to a store locator, with the nearest locations being outside Raleigh.

2

RETAIL ROUNDUP

It’s the same story this year as last year for the retail and restaurant market in Wilmington: Some stores and eateries are gone while others are on the way and planning new buildings.

The stores include national chains. The largest new tenant at midtown Wilmington shopping complex Hanover Center blocks will be Homesense, coming to 24,000 square feet in the former home of Stein Mart at 3501 Oleander Drive, which closed in 2020 after the clothing retailer declared bankruptcy.

More new tenants in recent months have cropped up at Hanover Center, which was built in the 1950s and is currently anchored by Harris Teeter, Hobby Lobby, Office Depot and Books-A-Million.

Randy Kelley, of Wrightsville Beach-based Harbour Real Estate Partners, one of the owners of Hanover Center in a joint venture with ShopCore, said late last year, “Retailers love leasing in shopping centers that have history and great cotenancy.”

36 W ilmington B iz MAGAZINE TRENDS

3

REACHING OUT

More businesses are establishing a presence in areas just outside Wilmington.

In late 2022, developers met with neighbors to share information on a proposed Tractor Supply Co. store at 3400 Castle Hayne Road in New Hanover County.

Plans call for a 22,000-square-foot building, a 4,000-square-foot garden center and a 14,000-square-foot fenced outdoor display area. Already, Tractor Supply operates stores in Hampstead, Shallotte and Rocky Point.

Construction on a Lowe’s Home Improvement location in the Brunswick County town of Leland, off U.S. 17, began last year. The store anchors Leland Town Center, which also counts among its tenants Chick-fil-A, Starbucks, Firehouse Subs and AT&T.

Another shopping center, Shoppes at Savannah Branch, is planned on a site across the U.S. 17 from Brunswick Forest, with about 142,000 square feet of building space proposed that could include a Publix grocery store.

4

INDUSTRIAL IN DEMAND

Despite Amazon pulling back on establishing certain space in the Cape Fear region and elsewhere, the need for industrial development continues this year.

Aiming to capitalize on that demand, Samet Corp.’s Wilmington office is building a 200,000-square-foot building in the Brunswick County town of Navassa, for one example.

Site work started earlier this year on the property at the intersection of Cedar Hill Road and Interstate 140. Samet Corp. officials estimate the building will be finished in the fall.

Adam Cardin, project development manager for Samet Corp., said the Greensboro-based company “loves to have space available in this market because the southeastern region, it’s just hot. And throughout that territory, economic developers always say they need product coming out of the ground.”

In a couple more examples, other developers have industrial space in the works at Wilmington International Airport and on U.S. 421, among other sites in the area.

5

SPACE FOR WHAT AILS YOU

With community growth comes the need for more health care providers and facilities.

In January, Novant Health New Hanover Regional Medical Center held a ribbon-cutting ceremony to celebrate the opening of its 108-bed Novant Health Neurosciences Institute.

One recent example is the purchase by Wilmington Surgical Associates of a site in midtown Wilmington, 2739 Iron Gate Drive, where the private general surgery practice will build a new facility.

Carolyn Medley, the practice’s development director, said Wilmington Surgical Associates needed room to grow.

“It’s bittersweet leaving our spot here on Medical Center Drive because we’ve been here for so long (since 1972), but we’ve renovated this property until we can’t get another inch out of it,” she said. “It was time to find a new home where we can expand and put everything in it that we need.”

2023 R eal e state I ssue 37 wilmington bizmagazine.com TRENDS

LANDSCAPE READING THE LANDSCAPE READING THE

PROFILE
38 W ilmington B iz MAGAZINE

f Rom e C onom IC development to R eal estate , K elly s tua Rt fo Rges

C

onne

C t I ons

Kelly Stuart is a driving force in Brunswick County. After working in economic development for more than 20 years, the commercial real estate leader is focusing on developing relationships that make things happen.

Stuart is a part of the Carolinas Commercial real estate team and serves as president of the Realtors Commercial Alliance of Southeastern North Carolina (RCASENC).

Previously, Stuart served in several economic development-related roles around the state and country.

She worked as the N.C. Global TransPark’s deputy director of development, North Carolina’s Piedmont Triad Partnership’s vice president of client development, Northern Kentucky Tri-ED’s project manager in the Cincinnati area, Martinsville-Henry County Economic Development Corp.’s director of product marketing and Myrtle Beach Regional Economic Development Corp.’s director of recruitment.

Closer to home, Stuart also served as the assistant director for Brunswick County’s previous economic development department between 2013 and 2016.

Once Stuart started to put down roots in Brunswick County, the thought of picking up and moving again did not entice her.

“Before the market went bad in 2008-09, I worked for a developer,” she recalled. “I had a house here, worked with Brunswick County economic development for several years, and I had to look at the next place I would have to pack and start new.”

Stuart’s father had been in commercial real estate for 20 years, so she decided to make the move to join him on that side of growing Brunswick County in 2016.

Today, she and her father head the Carolinas Commercial real

estate team with Coldwell Banker Commercial Sun Coast Partners.

“Economic development is nothing more than selling sites, so commercial real estate is the exact same thing. You just get paid differently. Instead of representing the community, you represent the product,” Stuart said.

Stuart is active in both the Cape Fear Commercial Real Estate Women and RCASENC industry groups.

RCASENC in 2019 named Stuart as its Member of the Year the same year that the group honored her father and business partner, David, with its Commercial Lifetime Achievement Award.

Kelly Stuart was born in Raleigh, and while her work in economic development brought her to many different states including Kentucky, Virginia and South Carolina, it is Brunswick County where she has chosen to call home.

“I have lived in cities. I have done it, and working with RCA (Realtors Commercial Alliance), I am in Wilmington one to two days a week, which is plenty to eat and shop,” she said.

The group also offers Kelly Stuart additional chances to travel to build connections.

“RCA provides excellent opportunities for leadership possibilities to get involved on a statewide and national level. RCA held over the board positions for president for two years in a row, and the president-elect does travel on behalf of RCA, which is good since it allows me to form relationships across the state,” she said.

Relationships are what it is all about, according to Kelly Stuart, who also serves on the NC Realtors’ board of directors.

“It allows me to reach out across the state to the Piedmont Triad and the Triangle to figure out how we can know each other better since commercial real estate does not happen at a local level,” she said about the board.

2023 R eal e state I ssue 39 wilmington bizmagazine.com
PROFILE

PROFILE

She pointed out that growth in Brunswick County has a great deal to do with the number of permanent residents that call the county home.

“Up until two years ago, a lot of what we did was to represent owners of retail shopping centers and travel to (the) International Council of Shopping Centers, and we don’t have the demographics,” she said.

That requires telling “the story in a different way” and working with small businesses to aid in growth, she said.

“With economic development, we worked with big industry, but small businesses are so much more rewarding when creating relationships and helping people navigate the system,” she said. “It is extraordinarily rewarding to drive past a shopping center that used to be vacant and see it as a thriving business.”

Now the land tracts that developers are turning into housing communities are helping to provide the data to back up the story that Kelly Stuart has been telling.

“As people move in, the census reflects the year-round demographics shift, and it will help in a lot of ways to get money towards road and infrastructure improvements and into the school system, and it will make Brunswick County increasingly attractive,” she said.

Kelly Stuart enjoys spending time with work colleagues from CREW and RCASENC and explained that spending that much time together builds personal and professional connections.

“If I was not as active with RCA as I am, we would just be a couple of commercial brokers,” she said.

She looks forward to continuing to reach goals with the organization.

“RCA has started to grow its membership base. When they started under the Cape Fear Realtors, they were just a handful of commercial members. Now we are 440 members from 16 counties,” she said.

“Relationships with each other make us good at what we do, so we are looking to expand that.”

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2023 R eal e state I ssue 41 wilmington bizmagazine.com 710 Military Cutoff Rd #250 Wilmington, NC 28405 (910) 256-9995 EarneyNet.com Supporting the Growth of Wilmington’s Most Dynamic Industries TAX | AUDIT | ACCOUNTING MBA (Online, Executive and International) M.S. in Finance (Online) M.S. in Business Analytics (Online) M.S. in Accountancy M.S. in Computer Science and Information Systems M.S. in Supply Chain Management (Online) Pending SACSCOC approval APPLY TODAY! CAMERON SCHOOL of BUSINESS GRADUATE PROGRAMS UNCW is an EEO/AA institution. Questions regarding UNCW’s Title IX compliance should be directed to titleix@uncw.edu. csb.uncw.edu/grad
2023 R eal e state I ssue 43 wilmington bizmagazine.com MARKET SNAPSHOT WILMINGTON AREA COMMERCIAL REAL ESTATE HIGHLIGHTS MARKET SNAPSHOT PROPERTY ADDRESS PRICE SELLER BUYER CAPE HARBOR APARTMENTS 7113 CAPE HARBOR DRIVE $100,400,000 BEDROCK HOLDINGS II LLC CLPF CAPE HARBOR LLC MILL CREEK APARTMENTS 414 MILL CREEK COURT $95,200,000 BEDROCK HOLDINGS II LLC CLPF MILL CREEK LLC ST. ANDREWS RESERVE APARTMENTS 910 SAINT ANDREWS DRIVE $77,000,000 PRCP NC WILMINGTON LLC ETAL 380 MM WILMINGTON LLC CLEAR RUN APARTMENTS 326 RACINE DRIVE $67,000,000 BEDROCK HOLDINGS II LLC CLPF CLEAR RUN LLC UNCOMMON WILMINGTON APARTMENTS 2400 PLAYA WAY $54,000,000 DRI CA WILMINGTON LLC UNCW LP THE PRESERVE AT PINE VALLEY 3402 S. COLLEGE ROAD $39,750,000 LATITUDE PINE VALLEY LLC 80 GRANT STREET LLC CYPRESS GROVE APARTMENTS 2041 E. LAKE SHORE DRIVE $36,000,000 BERLIN MILES INC CYPRESS GROVE PROPERTY LLC LANDFALL CENTER 1337 MILITARY CUTOFF ROAD $30,750,000 LANDFALL VENTURES LLC CC LANDFALL LLC THE LIFE AT LAKESIDE VILLAS 1400 S. 11TH ST. $29,000,000 GARDEN LAKE ESTATES LTD PTNRP 1519 LAKE BRANCH DR WILMINGTON LLC BLOCKADE RUNNER BEACH RESORT 275 WAYNICK BLVD. $26,898,000 BLOCKADE RUNNER RESORT LLC CPH 275 WAYNICK LLC 5 8 1 10 SOURCES: NEW HANOVER COUNTY PROPERTY TAX RECORDS, GREATER WILMINGTON BUSINESS JOURNAL 1 2 5 7 3 4 6 9 8 10 TOP 10 COMMERCIAL SALES of 2022 * *DOES NOT INCLUDE THE FORMER GALLERIA SITE AT 6802 WRIGHTSVILLE AVE. IN WILMINGTON
44 W ilmington B iz MAGAZINE WHO MEAN BUSINESS WOMEN Highlight your business, your team, & yourself. Be a part of the Women Who Mean Business Section in the Fall WilmingtonBiz Magazine by contacting 910-343-8600 x212 or marketing@wilmingtonbiz.com WOMEN WHO MEAN BUSINESS MARKETING SECTION MARKETING SECTION WOMEN WHO MEAN BUSINESS Aneliese Bard Andrades is the founder and owner of Carolina Cleaning Services, which has been serving residential and commercial clients in New Hanover, Brunswick and Pender counties since 1994. From humble roots—starting the include large team of professional technicians and a substantial client base. With hard work, resilience team at Carolina Cleaning Services have built an excellent reputation in Wilmington and the surrounding Company honors from Wilmington Magazine in both 2021 and 2022. A member of the Worldwide Cleaning and her team always has the most up-to-date certifications. Over the past 28 years, Carolina Cleaning large and highly successful business with hundreds of customers and a dedicated team of employees, while continuing to be local and womanowned. She credits portion of the success the company has enjoyed to their focus on tailoring their services ANELIESE BARD ANDRADES Carolina Cleaning Services 52 MARKETING SECTION WOMEN WHO MEAN BUSINESS BeyondClinicWallsWellness.com CONSTANCE FOREMEN, MD Beyond Clinic Walls Wellness Recognizing that the goal of improving personal wellness and building healthy habits does not begin and end inside the walls of clinic, Dr. Constance established Beyond Clinic Walls Wellness to provide health and wellness solutions for individuals in Wilmington and the surrounding areas. A board-certified Family Medicine physician and a Lieutenant Commander in the Navy Reserve, Dr. Constance believes essential for people to have more than just periodic exams with their physicians to maintain a healthy lifestyle. To bridge that gap, Dr. Constance offers community events, corporate workshops and seminars to encourage practical health techniques. JENNIFER KRANER RILEIGH WILKINS Big Sky Shop & Studio At Big Sky Shop + Studio, Jennifer Kraner and Rileigh Wilkins work with a talented team of designers to translate the ideas/vision of their clients into unique, personalized interiors. As the president and principal interior designer, Jennifer Kraner focuses on creating an open and collaborative work environment. As creative director, Rileigh Wilkins develops inspiring vignettes for the showroom floor. Together, they push the boundaries of design and deliver unique experiences through event and design packages. Researching the latest trends, finding emerging artists and sourcing the newest gifts and accessories are a part of daily life for everyone at Big Sky. 910-793-3995 BigSkyShopOnline.com 51 WOMEN WHO MEAN BUSINESS MARKETING SECTION As the marketing director for Matthews Motors, a family-owned independent car dealership, Morgan Matthews concentrates on providing every customer with a positive experience. A graduate of UNCW, where she earned a degree in Communication Studies, Morgan’s background includes working for the company’s sales team and service department. In her current role, Morgan is growing the company’s online presence and acting as spokesperson for radio/TV ads. Along with her team, Morgan is working to enhance and strengthen the company’s already phenomenal brand reputation—one that has kept it in business for nearly three decades. MORGAN MATTHEWS Matthews Motors morgan@matthewsmotors.com 910-335-4016 MatthewsMotorsWilmington.com MARKET SNAPSHOT NEW OWNER ADDRESS SQ FT SALE PRICE LIVE OAK BANK 3601 CONVERSE DRIVE 162,922 $18,300,000 AW PROPERTY CO. (NOVANT-NHRMC PORTFOLIO) SIX MIDTOWN WILMINGTON MEDICAL BLDGS 56,391 $14,797,000 CITY OF WILMINGTON 115 N. THIRD ST. 50,765 $11,000,000 BUSH WATSON (INVESTMENT FIRM) 201 N. FRONT ST./THE MURCHISON BUILDING 61,419 $8,900,000 ANCHOR HEALTH PROPERTIES 2150 SHIPYARD BLVD. 19,069 $7,064,000 ANCHOR HEALTH PROPERTIES 1725 NEW HANOVER MEDICAL PARK DRIVE 17,005 $6,236,500 CLARITY VENTURES GROUP (INVESTMENT AND DEVELOPMENT FIRM) 5051 NEW CENTRE DRIVE 32,905 $5,000,000 VANTACA 7040 WRIGHTSVILLE AVE. 17,298 $3,700,000 TGA OUTDOORS 221 N. SECOND ST. 12,528 $2,975,000 BRAD SIZEMORE INSURANCE 4815 OLEANDER DRIVE 10,617 $2,650,000 BEACON EDUCATION 1802 S. 17TH ST. 11,670 $2,475,000 1 2 4 6 8 10 3 5 7 9 SOURCES: COSTAR, PROPERTY TAX RECORDS, AW PROPERTY CO.'S WEBSITE 2022 11 SIGNIFICANT OFFICE BUILDING SALES IN WILMINGTON 1 3 4 7 11
2023 R eal e state I ssue 45 wilmington bizmagazine.com MARKET SNAPSHOT MEDICAL OFFICE BUILDING OPPORTUNITY 46,000 SF Build-to-Suit or Leaseback in Porter's Neck Area Able to Divide into Multi-Tenant Space SametCorp.com 8115 Market St., Suite 304 | Wilmington, NC | Contact: 910.460. 0701 or acardin@sametcorp.com BUILDING NAME / ADDRESS TENANT SIZE (sq ft) MURRAYVILLE POST SHOPPING CENTER FIT 4 LIFE HEALTH CLUBS 21,000 11125 HIGHWAY 17 KINETICO ADVANCED WATER SYSTEMS 14,125 OLEANDER CENTER UPTOWN AT MIDTOWN 11,083 2737 N.C. 210 EAST PETCO 10,900 OGDEN COMMONS O'REILLY'S AUTO PARTS 9,504 BARCLAY COMMONS ELEVATED COWORKING 6,506 THIRD & GRACE WELLS FARGO* 5,757 1002 PRINCESS ST. BOWSTRING BREWYARD 5,017 SHOPPES AT COLLEGE ROAD QUEENIE COSMETICS 5,015 PIER 33 BONITA RESTAURANT 4,030 HANOVER CENTER DRIFT COFFEE 3,785 2737 CASTLE HAYNE ROAD DUB CITY ATHLETICS 2,950 CORNERSTONE CENTER AMANECER RESTAURANT 2,259 PROMENADE AT NORTH MARKET COMPUTER WARRIORS 2,429 LUMINA COMMONS EPICUREAN BISTRO 2,259 1 2 4 6 8 10 12 3 5 7 14 13 11 9 15 SOURCE: COSTAR (REPRESENTS ONLY A SAMPLING) SELECT RETAIL LEASES IN THE WILMINGTON AREA * Renewal 2022

breweries THE burbs’ IN

RESTAURANT ROUNDUP RESTAURANT ROUNDUP 46 W ilmington B iz MAGAZINE
BY MIRIAH HAMRICK | PHOTO BY MEGAN DEITZ

Watkins, who also owns Wrightsville Beach Brewery on Oleander Drive in Wilmington, started scouting locations for expansion in 2019. Growing in Wilmington was an option, he said, but after driving around the tri-county region and crunching Census data, Watkins landed on Leland as the home of his second venture.

“If you drop a pin and draw a radius within 5 miles of Wrightsville Beach Brewery, the projected growth in that area in the next few years is a fraction of what Leland’s projected growth is,” said Watkins, (shown opposite page).

Meeting with town officials, Watkins said he was further emboldened by their enthusiasm for the project.

“They made us feel like they really wanted us out here. So that made our choice a little bit easier,” he said.

Brunswick Beer & Cider served its first guests from a brand-new, 13,000-square-foot space in Brunswick Forest in October. While Watkins was the first to open a brewery in Leland, he won’t be the last. Mannkind Brewing and Leland Brewing Company are close behind, with both estimating a late spring opening. And north of Wilmington, Burgaw landed its first brewery in time for St. Patrick’s Day with the debut of Burgaw Brewing.

In exploring the terrain outside of Wilmington, Watkins has gleaned some insights into the differences between operating a brewery in the city versus the suburbs. For one, business quiets down earlier than in Wilmington. Following a busy lunch most days, Watkins said the crowds start to wane by early evening.

“We usually peak between 6:30

and 7 at Wrightsville. Here, it’s about 5:30,” he said.

Watkins expected the crowd to be a little older with Brunswick’s population of retirees, and the amount of younger patrons at Brunswick Beer & Cider was a surprise.

“What we didn’t know is the number of young professionals who are commuting into Wilmington or working from home out of Leland because the rent’s more affordable or as first-time homebuyers; out here the dollar just goes further,” Watkins said.

As more people move into the suburbs in search of affordable housing, the town’s new crop of breweries can help residents limit their trips across the bridge – a desirable proposition according to Jeremy Mann, of Mannkind Brewing, a Brunswick County resident himself.

“The general chatter I hear from the Lelandites is that they don’t really prefer to travel across the bridge,” Mann said. “That’s the market we’re hoping to serve: the folks who want to stay on this side of the bridge and have some good beer and entertainment.”

Set to open this spring in a new business park off Ploof Road, Mannkind will offer about a dozen taps of beers, including something for “health-conscious” consumers that is “low carb, low alcohol (and) crushable” in a collaboration with neighbor Eternal Fitness. For families, Mannkind promises to cater to kids with board games, room to roam within a 3,000-square-foot outdoor beer garden and a housemade nonalcoholic libation.

Many of the people behind these ventures cite a need for this kind of gathering place in small towns, whose landscapes tend to be dominated by ubiquitous fast food and chain restaurants. Mark Said, who serves as CEO of Leland Brewing Company alongside COO and partner Chris LaCoe, echoed these sentiments. Said and LaCoe first began working on the project in 2019.

RESTAURANT ROUNDUP

“We didn’t come into this looking at it like a bar,” he said. “We looked at this as a location where we can bring families together, have a great outdoor space as well as an intimate indoor space.”

Once Leland Brewing Company opens at 133 Old Fayetteville Road, the site will offer ample indoor and outdoor space to enjoy a housemade brew – like Mannkind, that will include both alcoholic and nonalcoholic choices – and tacos.

Kevin Kozak, owner of Burgaw Brewing, hopes to provide something similar north of Wilmington. The brewery is Burgaw’s first and only the second in Pender County. As such, Kozak hopes to draw in customers from surrounding areas that might not want to trek into Wilmington for a beer and a bite to eat.

“I’m hoping we’ll get locals from Castle Hayne all the way up to Wallace and everywhere in between to come out and enjoy a casual, family-friendly place,” Kozak said. “Everybody’s welcome. Bring the kiddos in.”

Kozak brings more than 20 years in the craft beer industry, including a 13-year stint at Front Street Brewery, to his new business in Burgaw. He said he intends to use that experience to create a strong product and to adapt as needed to suit the appetites of the community.

“We’ll keep it simple. I’ll do what I know how to do and do it well,” Kozak said.

Watkins reiterated a similar recipe for success, one that he recommends regardless of the location of a brewery.

“At the end of the day, you have to make great beer. You have to execute that,” Watkins said. “That’s true in a city. That’s true in the suburbs.”

For more restaurant news, sign up for the Business Journal’s weekly Restaurant Roundup email by going to WilmingtonBiz.com.

2023 R eal e state I ssue 47 wilmington bizmagazine.com
THERE WERE MANY REASONS THAT LED JUD WATKINS TO OPEN HIS SECOND BREWERY ACROSS THE BRIDGE IN BRUNSWICK COUNTY.
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BOUND

Descendants of USCT, which were Union Army regiments composed of Black soldiers, still make their home in Southeastern North Carolina, Jones said. “They played a very large and impactful role in the shaping of this community,” he said. “They helped liberate the town.”

THE TAKEAWAY
UN
photo by ALLISON JOYCE THE FIRST THING DANIEL JONES WANTS PEOPLE TO TAKE AWAY FROM BOUNDLESS, a life-size bronze sculpture representing members of the United States Colored Troops by artist Stephen Hayes, is the “recognition of a story most people didn’t know,” he said. Jones (pictured) , cultural curator of the statue’s home, Cameron Art Museum, leads tours of the outdoor Civil War history sculpture for visitors to CAM. The piece depicts 11 men marching outside the museum on the very ground where the USCT once fought, within the Forks Road Civil War Site.
2023 R eal e state I ssue 49 wilmington bizmagazine.com
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