Charles Pointe Plans On Building Interest In Recreational Opportunities

The Exponent Telegram

By Julie Perine

Sunday, March 19, 2006

BRIDGEPORT – Along with the potential of 1,700 new homes, Charles Pointe plans recreational opportunities expected to draw interest from a multi-county region.

An 18-hole golf course, a par 3 executive course and amphitheater are among projected facilities, said Bill Phillips, CEO of marketing and public relations firm the Phillips Group.

The Bridgeport Conference Center, located in the development’s North Bay area and slated for an early April opening, also offers entertainment-ready amenities.

“It’s a place people can come for business and pleasure and also a place for training and education,” Phillips said. “With a full-service kitchen, it’s the ideal place to hold weddings, service club meetings, reunions and various kinds of social events.”

Consisting of approximately 15,000 square feet, the structure offers a 4,500-square-foot ballroom equipped with sound-proof panels that can partition the room into four equal parts.

To be located on the south side of the 1,700-acre development is a lifestyle center, consisting of retail shops, restaurants and theaters, Phillips said.

Among other projects planned for the future are a recreational park, picnic area, stocked lake, walking trails and ball fields, the later of which the city is in particular need, officials said.

“A lot of the recreation facilities have always been part of the master plan, but a year or two ago the city of Bridgeport addressed the city’s need to interface and coordinate with Charles Pointe in their efforts by tying their trails and facilities with existing city facilities,” said Kim Haws, Bridgeport city manager.

According to Bridgeport Mayor James Christie, it’s not a matter of if Charles Pointe will be developed to full recreational potential, it’s a matter of when funding becomes available.

“The original money set aside was going to address all these public functions, but between the County Commission and the Governor’s Office, it basically got whittled down in size.”

The tax increment financing dollars are primarily being used for infrastructures, Christie explained.

“Once the infrastructure starts to develop, there’s no reason why a second TIF can’t be addressed, which would include the public amenities,” as part of this project.”

Christie is optimistic about the completion date.

“Will it be in the next 10 years? I think I’ll go out on a limb and say yes,” he said.

When it does happen, those amenities will have quite an impact. Financially, that will benefit the city, county and state. But from a recreational aspect, it will benefit individuals and groups in neighboring cities and counties, Christie said.

Presently open for business at Charles Pointe is the Wingate Inn. A second lodging facility, the Microtel, will begin construction this summer, Phillips said.

Several residences have also been completed to date.

Charles Pointe is being developed by Genesis Partners, of which James Corton serves as managing partner. The City of Bridgeport is a partner in the Charles Pointe venture.