A company announced plans this week to build what it's calling a "totally self-contained endurance sports venue" featuring triathlon training facilities on more than 1,000 acres along the northeast Cape Fear River in Pender County.
TriHabitat will contain a 25-acre, man-made lake for swimming, a 14-mile paved bike loop, a 6.5-mile paved run loop and "a state-of-the-art permanent transition area featuring individual stations," according to a news release.
The release said the venue will include five stadiums built from "natural earth mounding" and lodging options in the forms of a 20-room lodge and conference center, rustic cabins and a 50-site motor home park. The land, owned by Corbett Packaging Co., is located off N.C. 210, about four miles east of the intersection of N.C. 210 and Interstate 40.
"After producing well over a thousand triathlons and other events over the years, I developed the vision to create a facility where athletes can train and race on a closed course with optimal spectator viewing areas and amenities," Bill Scott, CEO of TriHabitat, said in the release. "With the booming population of endurance sports athletes, the weather and the hospitality, the Wilmington, North Carolina, area, specifically Pender County, provides the perfect location for this facility."
The company issued its announcement Monday, two days after more than 2,000 athletes participated in the PPD Beach 2 Battleship triathlon in Wilmington. TriHabitat's application for a special-use permit to accommodate the company's plans for the site was approved by the Pender County Board of Commissioners at its Oct. 20 meeting.
TriHabitat will have to get approval for site plans and various other permits before construction can begin, said Kyle Breuer, planning and community development director for Pender County.
TriHabitat has partnered with Alchemy Global "to assist the copmany with the capital raise and provide ongoing advisory services to help implement the growth plan," the release stated. Alchemy Global is described in the release as an "investment web portal focused on Sports and Entertainment."
Along with plans to build the venue, TriHabitat said it "will host a multitude of endurance events, including triathlons of various distances during a typical calendar year. The facility will also be open daily on a year-round basis for training, camps, clinics and other activities. In addition to triathlons, TriHabitat also expects to produce a variety of other events such as kayak races, open water swims, bike time trials, and obstacle course races."
The company said in its news release that it anticipates the venue to be open for business in 2016.
"The growth of participation in endurance sports has been steady over the past few years, and the impact to communities has been felt with more events coming online, closing streets and putting a lot of effort into creating a safe and fun atmosphere for participants and spectators," said Bouker Pool, the COO of TriHabitat, in the release. "TriHabitat will be the first venue of its kind where athletes and spectators can be care free and focused on the action."