Wilmington is a 250-year-old port city, nestled between North Carolina's mighty Cape Fear River and the Atlantic Ocean.
The city's riverbanks boast a major container seaport, a charming historic district, the Battleship North Carolina, Gothic churches, and riverfront shops.
To the south lie majestic plantations, the North Carolina Aquarium, Fort Fisher, miles of unspoiled beaches, and some of the most outstanding seafood restaurants along the Cape Fear Coast. The Wilmington area is blessed with many natural attributes, however, its most valuable asset is its people: they are warm, friendly, sincere, and productive.
Wilmington proper is the epitome of what the emerging New South is all about. Its inviting business climate has attracted giants like GE, DuPont and Corning, as well as smaller high-tech firms such as AAI and Pharmaceutical Product Development.
Much of the city's growth is taking place along College Road, where incidentally, the University of North Carolina at Wilmington (UNCW) is located. UNCW's Marine Science Program, ranked fifth in the world, is at the forefront of teaching.
Located downtown on the Cape Fear River is our award-winning Cape Fear Community College (CFCC) offering state of the art training in a multitude of disciplines.
Although Wilmington is the largest city in southeastern North Carolina, it retains a small town atmosphere. Visitors are treated hospitably and immediately sense the strong community pride Wilmingtonians exhibit. Residents continuously strive to improve all aspects of life in the Port City, because they know it is possible for the Wilmington area to maintain the same charm and natural beauty that has been celebrated for over 250 years.
Wilmington experienced staggering growth in the 1990s, ranking at one point as the second fastest growing city in the country, behind only Las Vegas. The new century appears poised to reflect similar results. Economists have forecasted growth in the Greater Wilmington area to be the strongest in the state averaging 7% between 2004-2010. Policom, an independent economic research firm that specializes in analyzing local and state economies, has given Wilmington an "A" rating for economic outlook.
With such a positive economic forecast, a low-cost of living, and the exceptional quality of life that a beach community offers, it's easy to see why corporations and industries around the country are relocating and/or opening offices in the area. As evidence, in 2005, telecommunications giant Verizon opened its new call center in Wilmington, bringing more than 1,000 new jobs to the city.
Brunswick County is one of the fastest growing counties in the nation. According to the U.S. Census estimates, Brunswick County ranked 14th among U.S. counties in growth from July 2005 to July 2006. Leland has emerged as the centerpiece of northern Brunswick County's continuing economic expansion. In recent months the town has seen the opening of a number of commercial centers, businesses and restaurants such as Wal-Mart, Eddie Romanelli's, Arby's and Feller, Inc., a leading global supplier of power cords. Several hotels, grocery stores, national retailers and more restaurants are in the planning stages and will soon follow. Leland Industrial Park is steadily growing and changing. It is now a mixed use park with residential homes and planned retail and office/institutional sites.
Leland's population numbered 1,938 in 2000 but grew to 5,189 by the end of 2004. In that same year, the town doubled its geographic size by completing the voluntary annexation of the Brunswick Forest planned unit development. This 4,900-acre tract joined the town's other flagship developments - Magnolia Greens, Waterford, Mallory Creek, Westport and Westgate - making Leland the largest municipality in Brunswick County. When Brunswick Forest is completed it will add nearly 10,000 new residents to the area. Despite its current population of 9,642 and thousands of new residents on the way, the Town of Leland is committed to maintaining its small-town atmosphere and quality of life as it enters this new era of growth and prosperity.
Pender is a fast growing county with a population of 44,820. Well positioned for growth, both individually and as a part of the Cape Fear region, the County provides industrial locations adjacent to the Interstate 40 corridor, as well as access to a major port, international airport, and regional medical center. The completion of I-40 allows major recreation and transportation expansion in the Cape Fear Region causing considerable growth in New Hanover County (Wilmington). New Hanover County is bounded by the Atlantic Ocean on the east, and the Cape Fear River on the south and west. Therefore, expansion must occur to the north in Pender County. One major employer, Del Labs, Inc. (Baby Orajel), has located off of the I-40 corridor in Rocky Point since May 1997, and currently employs approximately 850 employees. Also, LL Building Products (340 employees), American Greetings (75 employees) Wieland (47 employees), Porta-Nails (29 employees), and Cardinal Metal Works (60 employees), have been located in the County since 1991. Timber and recreation at the beaches will continue to be major contributors to the County economy.