I-79 Hotels, Homes Planned

The Charleston Gazette

By Tara Tuckwiller

BRIDGEPORT, (Wednesday, October 25, 2000)

A Bridgeport corporation is scheduled today to announce its plans to build a $750 million planned community – complete with more than 200 houses, an 18-hole public golf course, an office park, a retail center and as many as three hotels – on 2,000 undeveloped acres along Interstate 79.

Construction will start within the year on the first phase of the project, a hotel and conference center, according to a source close to the project. That will mean "a couple (of) hundred jobs" to construct and run the hotel, the source said.

The city of Bridgeport will sell bonds to pay for the conference center, and will own it when it is finished.

The development, called Charles Pointe, will be finished within seven to

10 years, the source said. It will occupy a triangle of land bounded by I-79, the Clarksburg-Benedum Airport and the city of Bridgeport.

Eventually, all 2,000 acres will be annexed by Bridgeport.

The land has been owned for generations by the family of coal operator Charles E. "Jim" Compton, who started Grafton Coal in 1942 and invented the Compton coal auger and Compton flexible miner.

Charles Pointe is being built by Genesis Partners, a Bridgeport corporation formed by Compton’s daughter, Jennifer Compton Corton, and her husband, James Corton.

West Virginia University is also involved in the development. The university won’t be required to sink an public money into the plan, but it will help find high-tech businesses – forensics, health sciences and the like – that Genesis and the other partners will try to attract to Charles Pointe, by helping to find financing and intellectual property the companies can use.

Genesis Partners has already spent $2 million on marketing studies and engineering for Charles Pointe, the source said.

Humphrey Hospitality Trust Inc., a Maryland corporation that owns 90 hotels, will be the developer for the conference center.