Although it's been four years since developers announced plans
for CenterPoint, a major mixed-use project on Eastwood and Military Cutoff roads in Wilmington, work on the development continues with a potential start next year.
CenterPoint, planned by Wilmington-based firm Swain & Associates, is expected to include a hotel, an office building with a parking deck, apartments with a parking deck, restaurants and stores on about 23 acres.
N.C. DOT officials said recently that a road project crucial to CenterPoint – the extension of Drysdale Drive off Military Cutoff Road – could start next year.
Jason Swain of Swain & Associates said it's his understanding that the extension project could begin in the first quarter of 2022.
"Our plan is when they begin their work, we'll begin our site work," Swain said, which will involve clearing land and installing horizontal infrastructure, including water, sewer and roadways.
Asked whether COVID-19 has dampened his firm's hopes for CenterPoint, he said, "We're a believer in the site and we're a believer in Wilmington. We think Wilmington is going to continue to grow. It grew through the pandemic."
What about the impact of the pandemic on retail and its hastening of the demise of some retailers?
"CenterPoint is designed not to be a big-format retail destination," Swain said. "All of our spaces are 1,200 to a maximum of 5,000 square feet. The general idea of the whole project is for it to be about small-format local [retailers] like at The Forum and Lumina Station."
Swain & Associates developed The Forum and still manages the shopping center on Military Cutoff Road after selling it in 2013.
Swain added, "The shops are unique there, there are a lot of restaurants, and people are coming to The Forum for the experience, and that's what CenterPoint will be – an experience."
He said CenterPoint is also expected to be home to numerous restaurants.
In general, development is a challenging industry these days, insiders say.
Swain said, "Development of any nature takes a lot of time, a lot of thought, consideration, a lot of working with the community to make sure it happens in a reasonable way."