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 Pharma companies like AAI/Alcami and PPD. Wilmington also boasts an entrepreneurial spirit producing FinTech start-ups Live Oak Bank and nCino.
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. 2000-2010 census showed growth in New Hanover County of 26.4% and the City of Wilmington at 40.4%. According to UNCW Economic Forecast, growth from 2020-2024 hovers around 2% per year, well outpacing the state of North Carolina and the Nation as a whole. 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, the past 15 years has brought 1000+ jobs with the telecom giant Verizon call center, almost 300 jobs with the relocation from New Jersey of Pacon Manufacturing, among several others. North Carolina offers highly competitive incentives, lower cost of living, and lower costs of doing business than most other markets across the country.
Brunswick County is one of the fastest growing counties in the nation. According to the U.S. Census estimates, Brunswick County ranked 4th among U.S. counties in growth between 2017 and 2018. 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 apartments, commercial centers, businesses and restaurants. 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 has grown to over 140,000. Also in 2004 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. The Town of Leland is committed to maintaining its small-town atmosphere and quality of life in this new era of growth and prosperity.
Brunswick County Industrial Development actively searches for large industrial corporations to bring their businesses and jobs to the area. Pacon manufacturing completed a deal to bring their manufacturing facility to the area in 2019. They are just one of the companies relocating to our area for a better cost of living and beautiful surroundings.
Pender is a fast growing county with an estimated population of over 60,000 residents. 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-140 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. Several corporations are located in Pender County including: Wieland, a manufacturer of electrical interconnect devices for the automotive industry; W.R. Rayson, a manufacturer of disposable paper goods; Ultrafoam, a manufacturer of polyurethane foam for office furniture; and Chloride Systems, a manufacturer of emergency lighting systems are just some of the many corporations located in Pender County. Timber and recreation at the beaches will continue to be major contributors to the County economy, with Topsail Beach being one of the area's most popular destination. According to Pender County's website, the county "includes miles of Intracoastal and inland waterways, such as the Cape Fear River, which has played an important role in the development of the county since the American Revolution, and the Black River, one of only two rivers in the nation considered pollution-free."