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NcSc74

Is Wilmington taking advantage of its location

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I have wondered for a long time why Wilmington wasn't amongst the largest cities in the state. At least in the top 5. Look at the spec. Its located on a river that is deep enough and slow moving, some portions of the city do border the ocean. Being that is the port city there is a large industrial base. The area abounds in history and nature but yet it has taken it a long while to catch fire. IMO I can't understand what the problem has been all of this time. Has it been NC politics or the city demographic or has it been the local populace not wanting the recognition. You cant find too many cities in the country that would not pick up and move if given the money that the city of Wilmington occupies now. Sooo much potential yet no one has really heard of it. WHY. Oh yeah I forgot decent weather also minus the occasional hurricane but aside from that what is the deal....Does anyone agree with me that at the least the city should be around 150-200k with a metro pushing at least 600K. I am taking a conservative skew and also taking to account the growth that similar southern coastal cities have seen. Kinda odd the Norfolk, Newport News, Savanna, Charleston(Wilmington was in a peer group with at some time or other) all grew to have substantial cities and metro areas. So I have come to this half conclusion. It had to be NC politics at the crucial time of the growth spurt of the other cities. Does anyone have a similar view or another theory. :unsure:

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I feel this is the government fault for putting so much interest into the piedmont. For year Piedmont got new roads & businesses, and they left eastern N. Carolina ass back. Now the state wants to get involve with ports for more money. I always felt Wilmington deserved to be in the 1million range. I would love to see wilmington the size of Baltimore. I like to see the Eastern N. Carolina region as a whole pick Wilmington as the hub. I don't want to see another tourist port I want to see place for business: white collar jobs. Did you know in the 1920's Wilmington had a large population of black entrepreneurs & business owners well you know what happen to most of them after the Massacre. So maybe old roots could play some part into why Wilmington has slow growth. Plus the old residents always complaining about every little development that is proposed. I actually think there should be an age limit for city voters that are against highrises proposals. I predict in 2030 Wilmington Metro area will reach 900k-1million, with the development of Southport, downtown, Carolina Beach, & the open space in Northern Wilmington.

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Historically, Wilmington was the largest city in NC. Most of the 1800s, I believe. Railroads and the car quickly changed that, obviously. But yeah, I'm surprised it's not larger than it is. I wouldn't go so far as to say it should be the size of Baltimore...but Charleston and Savannah may be better equivalents.

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After reading some articles it seems to me that the lack of an interstate connection really hurt Wilimington and its real growth at a time when the other southern cities were well connected. It is amazing what a major interstate can do for a metro region. As evident with total isolation Wilmington went through up until 40 was completed. I do agree that the state did neglect the east and Wilmington but I can't really complain about that because look at the result. The Triangle has become a model for success that many states look to emulate and really it has given NC a new face and foundation for growth in bio/pharma industry. Could the state have given the east a little more yeah but overall I like the direction things have gone. I am an advocate of focus cities in the east and Wilmington is one that should get a fair share of that focus. Had the state given Wilmington something like a connector to 95 when it was built then maybe things would be different. It just doesnt make sense to me that you can bypass and neglect your major port city for so long and wonder why the port is so low on the list of east coast port cities.

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To varying degrees, SE port cities declined sharply after the Civil War - there's one reason, and it took the better part of a century to reinvent themselves. Charleston's decline was extremely severe from the 1870s to the 1970s.

I don't know what the effect of the racial turmoil of the 1890s would have been in Wilmington, but I would expect that it would have to have been significant.

Then, the lack of an interstate connection - when the system was first being planned, NC could have gotten more interstate miles, but the importance of doing so was lost upon state leaders at the time, so we got 85, 95, 26 and a 40 that ended at Greensboro. 77 wasn't added in until the last minute (1958), and an extension of 40 through the Triangle wasn't planned until the early 60s. When the afterthought idea of extending at least one interstate into E NC was finally pushed (1969), the energy crisis a few years later derailed a number of planned highways. The current indirect route of 40 to Wilmington was a compromise of sorts between several earlier dead proposals.

In retrospect, poor highway planning is one of the largest infrastructure gaffes in the state's history, a lapse in judgement that is unfixable at this point. The cost-per-mile of interstate construction is rapidly getting up into unrealistic realms, in light of current budgets. That lack of a direct interstate connection between Charlotte and Wilmington - once proposed, and long-bemoaned in industry circles in both cities - will not happen, and for (IMO) counterproductive political reasons links between the cities aren't an NC priority, and I doubt they ever will be. Thus, most business in western NC that would require the services of a major port was thrown into a neighboring state, as Charleston is much more accessible (in both directness and proximity) to most of the western 1/2 of NC. Once upon a time, Wilmington might have been in the running for that business, but at this point it's gone and because of that lack of connectivity it won't be coming back. And with Norfolk right up the coast, Wilmington doesn't have the neighboring state advantages that Charleston does - little VA business would have a need to come south.

There are several other positive factors that come into play also - the city seems to be coming back very strongly. In any coastal location there will be unique environmental aspects to future development, which require creative solutions to work around - like dense development, building away from encroaching coastlines, and protecting inland wetland areas. This won't necessarily limit how much Wilmington can grow, but it will limit where (I'm guessing suburban growth will slow a little in Brunswick, will densify in New Hanover, and will quickly and exponentially escalate along the 40 corridor through central Pender). Such limitations aren't a bad thing, they will essentially force a certain level of innovation (and regional thinking and planning) upon the city. Successful moves in that direction would be quite a calling card. Wilmington does have an unusual economic mix - film, retirees, a university, tourism, small but growing tech sector, and proposed port expansion for the port business Wilmington does get. That mix of elements puts it well ahead of many, many cities of 100k.

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NC has not had anything that qualified as a big city until very recently. The biggest industries in NC historically, tobacco, furniture and textiles did not create any huge cities as is. Without looking at numbers, until around 1910 or so, Wilmington, Charleston an Savannah were all comparable. The port is actually not very large (Morehead City is larger) and many other cities with better ports received the lions share of shipping related industry. New South style growth has been fueled exclusively by Interstates, of which Wilmington was not connected until what 1989? I think those facts combined tell the story...

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There are several other positive factors that come into play also - the city seems to be coming back very strongly. In any coastal location there will be unique environmental aspects to future development, which require creative solutions to work around - like dense development, building away from encroaching coastlines, and protecting inland wetland areas. This won't necessarily limit how much Wilmington can grow, but it will limit where (I'm guessing suburban growth will slow a little in Brunswick, will densify in New Hanover, and will quickly and exponentially escalate along the 40 corridor through central Pender). Such limitations aren't a bad thing, they will essentially force a certain level of innovation (and regional thinking and planning) upon the city. Successful moves in that direction would be quite a calling card. Wilmington does have an unusual economic mix - film, retirees, a university, tourism, small but growing tech sector, and proposed port expansion for the port business Wilmington does get. That mix of elements puts it well ahead of many, many cities of 100k.

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Wilmington has seen a lot of ups and downs over the centuries. Several have been mentioned, one that has been forgotten is the moving of the ACL ( Atlantic Coastline Railway) headquarters form Wilmington to Jacksonville, FL around 1961. ACL had a huge railroad terminal and a five story office building downtown that employed hundreds of people.

Things are now definitely looking up:

New office buildings, bank buildings, PPD, Convention center, two to four new hotels planned in the next year, and hundreds of condos are being built now (two new condo projects broke ground this week).

The movie industry is setting new records after the lull of the last decade.

The port expansion when completed is projected to bring the volume to that of Baltimore's (plus the possibility of the new International state port planned in South Port).

The NC DOT TIPS (Transportation Improvement Program) has a project on the books to improve hwy 74 to interstate quality between Charlotte and Wilmington. This project is still unfunded, but maybe there is a glimmer of hope.

Suburban Brunswick County is the 14th fastest growing county in the nation.

Wilmington's Metro Area outgrew that of Savannah's two years ago. Wilmington's metro pop is 326,500 and Savannah's 320,000 as of last years census estimates.

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Wilmington has seen a lot of ups and downs over the centuries. Several have been mentioned, one that has been forgotten is the moving of the ACL ( Atlantic Coastline Railway) headquarters form Wilmington to Jacksonville, FL around 1961. ACL had a huge railroad terminal and a five story office building downtown that employed hundreds of people.

Things are now definitely looking up:

New office buildings, bank buildings, PPD, Convention center, two to four new hotels planned in the next year, and hundreds of condos are being built now (two new condo projects broke ground this week).

The movie industry is setting new records after the lull of the last decade.

The port expansion when completed is projected to bring the volume to that of Baltimore's (plus the possibility of the new International state port planned in South Port).

The NC DOT TIPS (Transportation Improvement Program) has a project on the books to improve hwy 74 to interstate quality between Charlotte and Wilmington. This project is still unfunded, but maybe there is a glimmer of hope.

Suburban Brunswick County is the 14th fastest growing county in the nation.

Wilmington's Metro Area outgrew that of Savannah's two years ago. Wilmington's metro pop is 326,500 and Savannah's 320,000 as of last years census estimates.

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Well I always thought that given its locale that Wilmington did pretty well, given where it was. Sure it was North Carolina's largets city in the early 20th century but given its considerable distance from the emerging "Piedmont Crescent" of triad cities and its metropolitan growth is one of the faster ones among North Carolina's smaller metro areas as I recall. Wilmington also seems to be a hot spot for retirees and its still in position to be the state's 7th largest city. Besides, a larger Wilimngton on par with the other big NC cities might mean Wilmington could have lost a lot more of its unique character. As it stands Wilmington has something of a city identity and a strong, developing downtown, I think both of those make up for Wilmington's lower spot in NC city rankings.

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In the the next 30yrs I can see Wilmington becoming the 4th or 5th largest city in North Carolina. I wonder if its possible for a county the size of New Hanover could hold 300,000 citizens...adding that fact there are lots of wet lands.

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In the the next 30yrs I can see Wilmington becoming the 4th or 5th largest city in North Carolina. I wonder if its possible for a county the size of New Hanover could hold 300,000 citizens...adding that fact there are lots of wet lands.

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I hop Wilmington doesnt grow much more than it has already. Its laready much different than it was 10 years ago when i went to school and lived down there. The traffic has gotten worse that's for sure. I just dont want to see it become some big metropolous and lose its low-country southern charm for the sake of more residents, bigger building and more roads. Leave that to the Triangle and Charlotte. Just my opinion.

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There can still be a Southern Charm city with high density take a look at New Orleans. Oh Wow if NC had a city like that I would most likely move there. Plus Wilmington is not the only city in that region thats getting agressive about wanting development....Carolina Beach. You guys know the rapid growth is coming, So I hope Wilmington is ready!!! Also there are rumors that Fayetteville will come up with boat taxi that would take you to Wilmington. I'm sure the boats are probably small.

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A boat taxi between Fayetteville and Wilmington would be really cool. We have water taxis in Wilmington now, but nothing that is long range.

Sorry Ima1973, Wilmington is projected to grow from 326,000 metro area it is now to 500,000 in about 20 years, projected to surpass Fayetteville Metro Area by about 75,000 people and Hickory Metro Area by 70,000.

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As long as it doesnt get rid of the alligators and the native palms and the true low country feel that only exists in the SE portion of this state, growth would be awesome.

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One thing The city council and New Hanover commissioners do seem to be taking notice of is the need for more park space. Recently the city council payed a big price for a fairly small piece of land downtown to create a park near the river in the CBD.This will create a park that will link with another small one on Front Street to make a larger park that will stretch from Front Street to Water Street.

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I lived in Wilmington from 1995 to 2001 and when i visit now, its completely different. The growth has been insane as it is and to be honest, unless they do something major with the road system around there it cant handle much more. Im in Raleigh now and you can give me the belt-line at 5:00 in RTP rush hour traffic over college road in Wilmington any day. I love Wilmignton to death and cant wait to move back there, but i dont miss taking 30 minutes to drive 4 miles across town when in the same amount of time i could have driven 25 miles here in the Triangle.

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I lived in Wilmington from 1995 to 2001 and when i visit now, its completely different. The growth has been insane as it is and to be honest, unless they do something major with the road system around there it cant handle much more. Im in Raleigh now and you can give me the belt-line at 5:00 in RTP rush hour traffic over college road in Wilmington any day. I love Wilmignton to death and cant wait to move back there, but i dont miss taking 30 minutes to drive 4 miles across town when in the same amount of time i could have driven 25 miles here in the Triangle.

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Well I always thought that given its locale that Wilmington did pretty well, given where it was. Sure it was North Carolina's largets city in the early 20th century but given its considerable distance from the emerging "Piedmont Crescent" of triad cities and its metropolitan growth is one of the faster ones among North Carolina's smaller metro areas as I recall. Wilmington also seems to be a hot spot for retirees and its still in position to be the state's 7th largest city. Besides, a larger Wilimngton on par with the other big NC cities might mean Wilmington could have lost a lot more of its unique character. As it stands Wilmington has something of a city identity and a strong, developing downtown, I think both of those make up for Wilmington's lower spot in NC city rankings.

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I really wish there could decent residential and commercial development on the west side of the river. Of course with as little damage to the marshes as possible. From what I understand that has always been the "stick in the mud" when it comes to that side anyways.

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A boat taxi between Fayetteville and Wilmington would be really cool. We have water taxis in Wilmington now, but nothing that is long range.

Sorry Ima1973, Wilmington is projected to grow from 326,000 metro area it is now to 500,000 in about 20 years, projected to surpass Fayetteville Metro Area by about 75,000 people and Hickory Metro Area by 70,000.

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I think a lot of us "east enders" look for a city in the southeastern NC to be its shinging star. Just mention the name Fayetteville and the mood of the conversation shifts to the morbid talk of crime, sprawl and no downtown identity. Some of it is true but so much misconception about the Ville abounds that I try to champion Wilmington as the eastern NC answer to all of the talk of no urbanity in the east. So forgive me if I seem over anxious for the port city to grow and become what I think it should have been years ago. Wilmington has the right mix of what no other NC city has. History, a river and the southeastern Carolina coast at its disposal. What can't get lost is what makes a historical city special. The time is now to start looking at certain initiatives to enhance where the city has came from and to plan where it needs to go. I'm not saying I want the city of Charlotte on the Cape Fear river. What I am saying is making Wilmington a more prominent player in the tiers of NC cities. Besides its the best thing happening on the southeast coast right now and if it succeeds then imaging the growth of Brunswick county. One more tidbit. I looked at a google map of the Morehead City area and IMO it is a sleeping giant in terms of potential.

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Wilmigngton is growing fast. Whe i lived there i felt as if i knew a secret, a hidden gem....something special that folks were just starting to finding out about. It was cool and trendy and hip to live in Wilmington. Its still a great place and i do want to go back, but the secret is out.

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I think a lot of us "east enders" look for a city in the southeastern NC to be its shinging star. Just mention the name Fayetteville and the mood of the conversation shifts to the morbid talk of crime, sprawl and no downtown identity. Some of it is true but so much misconception about the Ville abounds that I try to champion Wilmington as the eastern NC answer to all of the talk of no urbanity in the east. So forgive me if I seem over anxious for the port city to grow and become what I think it should have been years ago. Wilmington has the right mix of what no other NC city has. History, a river and the southeastern Carolina coast at its disposal. What can't get lost is what makes a historical city special. The time is now to start looking at certain initiatives to enhance where the city has came from and to plan where it needs to go. I'm not saying I want the city of Charlotte on the Cape Fear river. What I am saying is making Wilmington a more prominent player in the tiers of NC cities. Besides its the best thing happening on the southeast coast right now and if it succeeds then imaging the growth of Brunswick county. One more tidbit. I looked at a google map of the Morehead City area and IMO it is a sleeping giant in terms of potential.

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