WilmingtonBiz Magazine

Hindsight 20/20

By Staff Reports, posted Oct 8, 2020


• Having made it through Y2K unscathed, the region kicks off the 2000s.
• Independence Mall undergoes an overhaul, expanding to 1.1 million square feet.


• Impacts from the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks reverberate across the region.


• The N.C Aquarium at Fort Fisher opens after a two year, $16 million construction project.
• Post 9/11, the Port of Wilmington receives federal money to ramp up security at the facility.


• Carolina Beach gets its first major national chain hotel, a 144-room Courtyard by Marriott.
• Delta Air Lines starts regional jet service at of ILM, replacing its 30-passenger turboprop planes.


• Verizon Wireless breaks ground on its call center building.
• PPD announces plans to build a headquarters on the northern riverfront in downtown Wilmington.


• The town of Leland voluntarily annexes 5,000 acres for Brunswick Forest.
• GE announces a $77 million expansion plan for its nuclear energy and aircraft engine operations in Wilmington.


• Novant Health takes over management of Brunswick Community Hospital. The hospital would later move in 2011 to a newly built facility in Bolivia.
• The N.C. State Ports Authority buys 600 acres near Southport for about $30 million to build the proposed N.C. International Terminal. Four years later the project was put on hold.


• Military Cutoff Road is widened from two lanes to four. The corridor becomes a bank magnet, attracting 17 banks in the area near Eastwood Road.


• After years of discussion about the site, funding and other issues, work begins on the Wilmington Convention Center.
• Voters approve a $164 million bond issue allowing CFCC to expand downtown and at its North Campus.


• The national economic meltdown ripples through the local economy, underpinning the construction and real estate industries, prompting the area’s unemployment rate to jump up and causing some businesses to close their doors for good.
• The N.C. Commissioner of Banks closes locally based Cooperative Bank and Cape Fear Bank.


• North Carolina ups its film tax incentive package as it competes with other states for productions. The tax credits ended in 2014 and were replaced by a grant program.
• The debate over Titan Cement and its proposed plant in Castle Hayne heats up as opponents question potential air and water emissions. The company in 2016 backed away from the plans to build, saying it didn’t need the extra production capacity.


• The Hammerheads brings its semi-professional soccer team games to the Port City. The team disbanded in 2017.


• A proposal to bring Atlanta Braves minor league baseball franchise to Wilmington dries up after the proposal to build a baseball stadium fails by a large margin in a voter referendum.


• The federal government drops Brunswick County from the Wilmington MSA, a move some officials are trying to restore with the 2020 Census.
• DAK Americas closes its Navassa plant, laying off 600 workers.


• Next Glass opens its HQ in a renovated building in downtown Wilmington. The app company made a deal with an equity firm earlier this year.
• As tensions mount between him and UNCW trustees, chancellor Gary Miller leaves the university for a job out of state. Jose Sartarelli starts in the role the next year.


• Locally headquartered Live Oak Bank goes public on the Nasdaq.


• Officials approve a $2.1 million project to extend water and sewer along U.S. 421, opening up the corridor to potentially draw new industrial companies.
• Riverlights, a 1,400-acre project to include a mix of homes, commercial space and public parks, opens.


• News breaks that an unregulated chemical known as GenX is in the region’s drinking water. Chemours Co. discloses that GenX has been discharged into the river for more than 30 years, and the issue becomes the focus of filed lawsuits and consent orders.
• CFCC President Amanda Lee resigns, and the school settles a lawsuit filed by her predecessor, Ted Spring. Jim Morton becomes head of the community college in 2018.


• Hurricane Florence brings widespread flooding and damage when it makes landfall Sept. 14. Power outages affected thousands, and much of the area was cut off from outside routes for days until flooded roadways cleared.
• Vertex Railcar Corp., which came to town in 2014 pledging to create more than 1,300 jobs that didn’t materialize, reached the end of its line at its Raleigh Street site.


• New Hanover Regional Medical Center and New Hanover County officials announce plans to explore a potential sale for the county-owned hospital. Negotiations now are underway on a deal with Novant Health, with votes on the contract expected to take place in October.
• Wilmington International Airport hits a milestone of 1 million passengers for the year.


• Banking software company nCino, a spinoff of Live Oak Bank, goes public and starts trading on the Nasdaq.
• The coronavirus global pandemic reaches the Cape Fear region.
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