By Pam Kasey
BRIDGEPORT – Charles Pointe, the 1,700-acre master-planned community off Interstate 79 in Harrison County, opened its gates for a public tour and celebration Aug. 6."This may be the gate opening for Charles Pointe, but the sign might as read, ‘West Virginia: Open for business,’" Gov. Joe Manchin III told the visitors gathered there.Charles Pointe, which is planned to be developed over 15 to 20 years, will include residences, a "downtown" with retail shops and restaurants, office parks, a conference center, hotels, schools, and recreational and cultural facilities.
James A. Corton and Jennifer Compton Corton are developing the property under the name of Genesis Partners. She is the daughter of the late Charles E. "Jim" Compton of Bridgeport, for whom the development is named.
Charles Pointe took a major step toward realization over the past year with construction on hotels, residences and the Bridgeport Conference Center.
Construction of the first homes began in the community’s North Land Bay section this summer. More than 1,500 residences, single family dwellings as well as townhomes, duplexes, quadplexes, apartments and estates, eventually will be built on the site.The $8.7 million, 116-room, four-story Wingate Inn will open this fall, with a Microtel Inn & Suites to follow in 2006.
The Bridgeport Conference Center is expected to open in January.
Charles Pointe bills itself as not only the state’s first master-planned community, but also its first "technologically smart" community. Office complexes, retail outlets, restaurants and homes will have fiber-optic lines to the premises, offering access to a community Intranet, high-speed Internet and other services.So far, $40 million of an anticipated $1 billion has been invested, according to Genesis spokesman Bill Phillips.
Manchin acknowledged the value of that investment and the jobs it will create. An independent study projected the development will create 17,000 construction jobs and 11,000 permanent jobs.
Genesis Partners was joined at the event by representatives of their partners in building the community, including C.B. Richard Ellis, the City of Bridgeport, Communications Plus, ERA Apex Reality Services, Fifth Third Bank, Harrison Rural Electrification Association, Microtel Inns & Suites, S&A Homes, Secure US, Tailfeathers and Wingate Inn, according to Phillips. Dominion Gas and the Harrison County Commission are partners in the development as well.