Charles Pointe Project Taking Shape

Clarksburg Exponent Telegram

by Nora Edinger, Regional Editor

BRIDGEPORT (Tuesday, July 24, 2001)

The first phase of the $750 million planned community hugs I-279 just east of Jerry Dove Drive and will include everything from retail and service industry to restaurants and light manufacturing.

Genesis Partners owners Jamie and Jennifer Corton said Bridgeport's new convention center is most likely to fill a large site that will be visible from the interstate. But they aren't saying exactly who or what will locate on the remaining dozen or so construction-ready "pads."

That kind of news is waiting for the opening of I-279, scheduled for early fall.

The highway needs to be in before we can do anything," Jamie Corton said of actual building installation.

In the meantime, the Cortons and project engineer Rob Stuart continue to plan and prepare.

For example, Stuart is installing massive conduit runs that will carry electric, fiber optic cables and other wiring beneath the I-279 road bed. Three other runs will include water pipes.

"It's a lot cheaper to put it in now than to do it after the road is done," Stuart said.

Jennifer said that kind of preparation is what a planned community is all about, noting it has taken a great deal of cooperation to make it happen.

The state Division of Highways has already worked with the Cortons to put in road cuts for what will be future business and residential intersections. Genesis Partners has also worked with the state to install a pedestrian underpass in one I-279 section. They are preparing a suspended walking/biking overpass in another.

While the roadside commercial areas are first on the list, the Cortons plan to pre-sell residential lots by spring. The "smart homes" will have enough technology access that home-based workers from urban companies could potentially live there, Jennifer Corton said.

The couple said they have been pleasantly surprised by the amount of interest Charles Pointe has drawn.

"We're working with both national clients and local clients," Jennifer Corton said of the first section. "But housing requests have been our highest demand."

The entire development is ultimately planned to include 250 acres of single-family and multi-unit homes, miles of walking/bike paths and sidewalks, business and industry, a school, hotels, shopping villages and a golf course.

Jamie Corton said the former Compton family farm may be complete as Charles Pointe in as few as 10 years, depending on the economy.