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Mar 18, 2024

The Wilmington Construction Market: Trends, Recognition, and Challenges

Sponsored Content provided by Jim Hundley - Executive Vice President, Thomas Construction Group

Wilmington, North Carolina, where coastal charm meets economic vibrancy, has experienced remarkable growth in its construction industry. The evolving skyline and the emergence of new projects prompt a closer look at the trends shaping Wilmington's construction landscape, recent accolades, and the challenges faced by builders and developers.

Trends Shaping Wilmington's Construction Landscape

Multifamily and Mixed-Use Developments:  Driven by the rising cost of living, Wilmington has experienced a surge in demand for multifamily housing and mixed-use developments. Recognizing an underserved housing market, developers are creating vibrant communities that integrate living spaces with retail, dining, and recreational amenities, catering to the city's population increase. 
Industrial Development:  Wilmington's bustling Port plays a pivotal role in industrial development, responding to the increased demand for warehouse and logistics spaces due to the rise of e-commerce. Its strategic coastal location positions it as a prime hub for industrial growth as is evidenced by several new industrial parks in the region.
The Film Industry's Impact:  Beyond the scenic beaches, Wilmington has become a hub for film and television production, driving economic vitality, job creation, tourism, and historic revitalization.  In 2023, global film company, Cinespace Studios acquired EUE/Screen Gems’ Wilmington, Dark Horse Studios broke ground on an expansion project to double its space, and The North Carolina Film Office launched a workforce training program to funnel the talent pipeline in our region.

Wilmington: A City on the Rise

Recently named #1 on the “South’s Best Cities On The Rise,” by Southern Living, and a top-of-the-list ranking for East Coast corporate office locations, Wilmington’s recognition carries significant implications:

Investment Magnet: Recognition attracts investors and businesses, fostering economic growth and development as Wilmington establishes itself as an attractive destination for living and working.
Quality of Life: Acknowledging the exceptional quality of life in Wilmington, the city’s historic neighborhoods and vibrant cultural scenes resonate with both residents and visitors.
Future Prospects: Securing the top spot as the city on the rise signals a promising future, anticipating increased investment in infrastructure, real estate, and community initiatives.

Construction’s Role in Wilmington’s Growth

Maturing Market:  While Wilmington’s construction industry remains relatively small, it is evolving, and clients have recognizedthat there is no longer a need for out-of-market competitors.  The local construction firms have the requisite experience to successfully execute larger projects. 
Local Roots, National Reach: Thomas Construction Group proudly maintains its local roots while providing national expertise, focusing on building a resilient and prosperous community by supporting local initiatives and investing in local talent.

Challenges Ahead

Workforce Shortages: Nationally, the construction industry faces a shortage of skilled labor. Thomas collaborates actively with educational institutions to nurture the next generation of builders.
Rising Construction Costs: Global supply chain disruptions and labor shortages have led to surging material costs. Wilmington's coastal location adds complexity due to specific building envelope requirements and coastal regulations.
Capital Markets and Cost Certainty: Securing capital for development remains challenging, with private markets valuing upfront cost certainty. Thomas Construction Group addresses this through their Target Value Delivery (TVD) process, ensuring transparency and financial predictability which leads to successful execution of projects.
Entitlement Issues and Stormwater Requirements: Stringent stormwater regulations impact project timelines, especially in coastal areas like Wilmington. Thomas navigates protracted stormwater permitting processes crucial to project planning.

Envisioning Wilmington's Future

As we look ahead, Wilmington's construction market is poised for sustained growth, promising innovative projects and a thriving economy for the foreseeable future.

Our Commitment to Wilmington

At Thomas, we go beyond just building structures. We aim to create experiences defined by quality, functionality, and appeal. Our focus on nurturing relationships and leaving a lasting legacy drives our commitment to contributing to Wilmington's continued growth and development.


Reflecting on Recent Years

In recent years, Thomas Construction Group has celebrated significant milestones, from transforming local landmarks like the Autumn Hall Community to undertaking large-scale redevelopment projects such as the New Hanover County’s Government Center and nCino’s World Headquarters. Thomas’s dedication to excellence has left a mark on diverse landscapes even beyond these city limits. Thomas Construction Group’s impact has extended from the Southeast US to Tennessee, Indiana, and Texas.


Anticipating 2024 and Beyond

As we move forward in 2024, our momentum remains strong. Whether you're a resident, business owner or visitor, our commitment is clear: we're here to build a better Wilmington for the future. 

  1. 2022 Housing Forecast: Mostly Sunny With Occasional Showers - WilmingtonBiz2

  2. Wilmington NC Housing Market Trends and Forecast 2024 - Norada Real Estate3

  3. Business NC – site selection expert raves about wilmingtons advantages/

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