High Technology Comes To Harrison County

Times West Virginian

By Alexis McDaniel, Staff Writer

BRIDGEPORT  (Sunday, October 29, 2000)

The Interstate 79 corridor that consists of Monongalia, Marion and Harrison counties illustrates an economy in transition in West Virginia---from traditional businesses, such as coal, to high technology.

The I-79 Technology Park and the Alan B. Mollohan Innovation Center are two examples of high-tech success stories. More than 500 people work from the center, where millions of dollars in contracts are regularly announced for its companies.

Now the success is spreading south again into Harrison County on a 2,000-acre farm of Charles ‘Jim" Compton.

It’s just across the interstate from the FBI’s Criminal Justice Information Services center and it borders the Benedum Airport and Mid-Atlantic Aerospace Complex.

Compton’s family is turning the farm into a master-planned community named "Charles Pointe." The goal is to create a new standard of living in West Virginia, explained Jennifer Compton Corton and her husband, James

"Genesis Partners is committed to creating a lifestyle for this next millennium that will have a positive impact on job creation, housing, tourism and recreation for our State of West Virginia," Genesis Partners President James Corton said.

"We want what goes on here to be a vision of what West Virginian’s future can be."

The family formed Genesis Partners to market the land to multiple developers and estimated its investment at $750 million.

The property, once developed over the next decade, will include hotels and a conference center, an 18-hole golf course, shopping center, trails and more. All of the property will be annexed into the city of Bridgeport.

But it’s more than brick and mortar construction.

They’ve worked closely with West Virginia University on researching and their ideas and have hired a Washington, D.C., marketing firm to help sell the idea to others.

WVU has signed a memorandum of understanding to help develop Charles Pointe, said WVU-President David Hardesty.

The areas of cooperation will include defining strategies which will promote the development and growth in research and commercial applications in new technologies, bio-technologies, biometrics, forensics, health sciences and other disciplines where synergies exist.

Charles Pointe, the Cortons said, hopefully will be the home to a research park. They have mapped out a plan for 250 smart homes, which bring technology into all areas of living.

The Cortons believe the high-tech workers who will move to the area for jobs will want to live in these high-tech homes. Charles Pointe will be the largest planned community of its kind in West Virginia.