By Jeff Toquinto on June 11, 2012
With professional minor league baseball set to begin in the
spring of 2014 at Charles Pointe, it may be even better news for some that
professional minor league hockey may also be on its way. During Monday’s
Bridgeport City Council work session, an official with Genesis Partners, the
group responsible for the development of Charles Pointe, confirmed that there
is interest for that sport to come to the city.
Following a presentation by Genesis Partners Managing Member
Jamie Corton to Council, Rob Stuart, the Director of Planning and Engineering
said their group has been approached by an interested party to host a team in
Bridgeport. The team would be housed in a $55 million-plus civic center that is
potentially in the works.
“There is certainly interest,” said Stuart. “I’m not able to
name the parties involved, but we have definitely been approached about a team
coming to this location.”
The possibility of a new civic center that would house a major
basketball arena, as well as the potential for ice hockey, was part of the
items spelled out by Corton, Stuart and Executive Director of Development Mark
S. Dellana during the 45-minute presentation.
Along with the civic center component, plans were also spelled
out for an indoor recreation complex that currently would cover 99,000 square
feet that could be utilized through a deal with the YMCA or independently done,
said Corton. The facility would also include a pool, although Corton said plans
currently do not have the pool at the competition-required 50 meters, which
Mayor Jim Christie said is something that should be considered.
“Making it 50 meters
would make it available for competitive events would draw people from up and
down the coast and easily fill up any hotels you have in your development,”
Corton said there was room in the current design to increase the
size of the pool. He said his group would consider any development proposal as
part of the new Economic Opportunity Development District (EODD) that was given
state approval. He also said he would welcome teaming up with the City of
Bridgeport on upgrading the size of an aquatic facility as well as teaming up
on any other venture that would benefit both parties and the rest of the area.
Other parts revealed in the advanced planning for future phases
of Charles Pointe included a resort, an Italian Villa, a wellness center, a
cultural center, development surrounding the Frontier League baseball stadium
near the State Route 131 intersection of State Route 279, a senior center
complex, and major commercial development. In fact, the area on the United
Hospital Side of 279 near the exit ramp of Interstate 279 will likely be graded
out to produce up to 230 flat, commercial-grade acres in the best case
scenario. The worst case scenario would produce a little more than 200 acres.
To make that happen, more than 10 million cubic yards of dirt need to be moved.
In fact, all of the development areas discussed were situated on that side of
Route 279, which is across the roadway from where all the development currently
exists on the commercial front.
Several new hotels were discussed, including the already
announced Hawthorn Suites, as well as multiple restaurants, a water park with a
wave pool, outdoor zip lines and other amenities. Even the existing Bridgeport
Recreation Complex was included. Stuart and Corton said there is a chance the
multi-purpose field directly beside the wagon wheel baseball configuration
could be covered, have an artificial surface installed or both. At least one of
the facilities talked about during the meeting – not the Recreation Complex –
would be completely done with glass and include a retractable roof, while
another feature involved maneuvering between planned facilities through a
“All of this is real,” said Corton. “We’re talking with national
players on this.”
Corton said many of the plans were already in the works in 2008.
At that time, he said, things went sour, alluding to the economy tanking, and
plans were put on the backburner. Now, he said the environment for development
in North Central West Virginia is ripe again and interested parties are back to
One area where Corton was extremely confident things would
continue to move ahead was on the residential front. He said plans are in the
works for 400 to 500 townhouses and apartments.
“We can’t build them fast enough,” Corton said.