Bridgeport, W.Va. (Oct. 25, 2000)
An estimated $750,000,000 investment will be the home to thousands of jobs and hundreds of families in Bridgeport, W.V., local officials and developers announced Wednesday. The master-planned community will be known as Charles Pointe and will be located on approximately 2,000 acres along Interstates 79 and 279 in Harrison County. Initial partners in the development include Genesis Partners, a Bridgeport, West Virginia company; West Virginia University, the City of Bridgeport, and The Humphrey Companies, a development group located in Columbia, Maryland. The investment will make Charles Pointe one of the largest planned community investments in West Virginia’s history.
A $9,000,000 conference center and hotel are among the first investments slated for development on the property. The 10,000 square foot conference center will be owned by the City of Bridgeport, and the hotel will be constructed and operated by The Humphrey Companies. Bridgeport and The Humphrey Companies are currently working on an agreement, which will lead to the final design and construction of the conference center. Construction is slated to begin in mid 2001.
"Genesis Partners is committed to creating a lifestyle for this next millennium that will have a positive impact on job creation, housing, tourism and recreation for our State of West Virginia," Genesis Partners President James A. Corton said. "We want what goes on here to be a vision of what West Virginia’s future can be." Corton and his wife, Jennifer Compton Corton, formed Genesis Partners to coordinate the investment activities around Charles Pointe.
"Over the next seven to 10 years Genesis Partners will coordinate an estimated $750,000,000 investment to create a "new economy" model for our state, a place where technology and commerce come together in an environment that holds sacred the beauty and history that is ours," Corton continued. "We are very excited that the City of Bridgeport will provide an important anchor to Charles Pointe by locating the conference center in our development."
The conference center and hotel complex will be constructed near the intersection of I-79 and 279, close to the FBI interchange. It is expected that all of the 2,000 acres at Charles Pointe will become part of the City of Bridgeport as the development is built out. The City will be instrumental in assisting Charles Pointe with infrastructure and other needs for the development.
"Charles Pointe provides an excellent opportunity for our City to grow, not just in numbers, but in quality of life and new jobs," Bridgeport Mayor L.J. Timms said at the announcement. "The new economic development spurred by Charles Pointe, combined with the natural beauty of West Virginia, will create the ultimate environment to live and work. This is a wonderful development for not only Bridgeport, but for our region as well as all of West Virginia."
Charles Pointe will include over 250 technology "smart" homes and capture West Virginia’s majestic landscape in its many recreational trails and parks. The project will also include an 18-hole championship public golf course and will be the home of a Towne Centre that will provide residents and visitors with an abundance of retail shopping and entertainment centers.
The centerpiece of the Charles Pointe development is a Memorandum of Understanding signed between West Virginia University and Genesis Partners committing the parties to work together to develop Charles Pointe. These areas of cooperation include: "defining strategies which will promote the development and growth in research and commercial applications in; new technologies, bio-technologies,
biometrics, forensics, health sciences and other disciplines where synergies exist." The agreement was signed between David C. Hardesty, Jr., President of WVU and James A Corton on June 21, 2000.
"Education, training and research are critical for the success of any community, and West Virginia University stands ready to assist the fortunate occupants of Charles Pointe as they grow, learn and stimulate the economy," said Hardesty. "That is our mission as the state's flagship land-grant university, and we look forward to the many opportunities ahead." From the beginning, West Virginia University has provided expertise and advice in the planning and functional use of Charles Pointe.
Charles Pointe will be financed and constructed by multiple developers. Jim Humphrey with The Humphrey Companies is the first of the developers brought to Charles Pointe. Humphrey will be constructing and operating at least two hotels on the property and will play a role in the construction of the Bridgeport Conference Center at Charles Pointe.
"I will be negotiating to bring high-end hotel brands such as Hilton and Marriott to Charles Pointe," said Jim I. Humphrey, chairman and owner of the Humphrey Companies. "I see Charles Pointe as being a world class development that will host visitors from around the nation and world. This development needs world class hotels to match its commitment to a quality community."
Corton also announced other partners in the Charles Pointe development. These partners include: Baker Engineering out of Pittsburgh and Baker Associates out of Alexandria, Virginia, which have been working for nearly two years completing the initial engineering and design work for the project; Weber McGinn of Washington, D.C. who has been doing the marketing and strategic planning for the development; and PKF, one of the best market research firms in the country which has focused on a major marketing study for the entire development. Corton also indicated that as many as a dozen local and state firms will be brought in to the next phase of the development. Initial investment in Charles Pointe already exceeds $2 million.
Charles Pointe is named for C. (Charles). E. "Jim" Compton, the father of Jennifer Compton-Corton, Vice President of Genesis Partners. Mr. Compton has been ill for a number of years, and the project was originally conceived as a way to pay tribute to his many contributions to West Virginia.
Ms. Compton-Corton discussed her father’s legacy at the announcement, "For most of the last century, he has been engaged in nearly every part of our state’s life. From the invention of the coal auger to his leadership in establishing the School of Nutrition at West Virginia University, he was always a step ahead of the rest of us. It is my honor to share his vision of a place where families can live, work, and play. A place that we call Charles Pointe."