Charles Pointe Developers Press Ahead

Clarksburg Exponent Telegram - page1A

by Nora Edinger, Regional Editor

BRIDGEPORT (Tuesday, October 28, 2001)

Upscale hotel, up to 2,700 jobs part of first phase.

Charles Pointe developers say the war on terrorism and an iffy national economy aren’t slowing them down so far.

Ironically, they suspect national security worries may be helping the $750 million planned community along.

"A lot of the fear is because it’s the big cities," said Jenny McVaney, director of administration for developer Genesis Partners. "That has made it (a rural location) more attractive."

James Corton, Genesis manager, announced Friday a 120-room Hilton or Marriott hotel will likely be the first operating business in the retail/professional park phase. It could open as soon as spring 2003, with the launching of a Bridgeport Conference Center and Visitors Bureau not far behind.

Those businesses and several others will be located in sight of I-79 travelers at the Jerry Dove Drive/I-279 intersection. Still others will follow the soon-to-open I-279 deeper into the 2,000- acre development that has its outlet near the Harrison-Marion Regional Airport.

Corton said a number of unnamed professional companies are already committed to a 300,000-square foot office complex. One of them is a national brokerage firm whose name will be released in late November, he said.

The first phase is expected to bring 1,500 to 2,000 full-time professional jobs and about 650 full- and part-time retail jobs, he added.

Genesis will bring in a number of partners in coming months to keep other phases of the project on schedule for a five-to 20-year completion schedule, he said.

In particular, outside contractors will be working on a 400-home subdivision called Worthington Estates and a 100-unit town-home community located in the retail/professional park.

Some of the housing is intended for retail/professional park workers, some of who will be relocating from other states, he said.

Genesis will also subcontract the creation of a golf course that will border I-79 and Corton has a few ideas for its theme.

"We have pictures of that valley from the 1800’s, and it was a small community," Corton said.

He envisions a farm-style recreation area to pay homage to that early history.

Genesis is also talking with both public and private schools to develop an educational center that may include K-12 programs.