A City On The Move

By any measure — business development, retail expansion or cultural variety — Elizabeth City is a city on the move. Here’s a summary of projects of note, recently completed or in the pipeline.

Amazon Wind Farm US East

Iberdrola Renewables, the world’s leading producer of wind power, in October 2015 broke ground on Amazon Wind Farm US East – the first utility-scale wind farm in the Southeast and by far the single largest green energy project proposed in North Carolina. Amazon will use the project’s 208 GW  output to power its server farm in northern Virginia – equivalent to the average electrical consumption of 40,000 to 50,000 homes. The project has generated 250 jobs during the construction phase and will permanently employ 10-15 workers at an average annual salary of $80,000 when completed.

Tanglewood Pavillions

Tanglewood Pavilions, a 158,000-square-foot shopping center anchored by Hobby Lobby, TJ Maxx, Ross Dress for Less and Dollar Tree, opened for business in August 2015. The 92-percent-leased center also features Zaxby’s, Sleepys, Hibbett Sports, Rack Room, Kaye Jewelers and AT&T.

The Center

Arts of the Albemarle in March celebrated the Fifth Anniversary of the reopening of the historic Lowry-Chesson Building, one block from the downtown waterfront. The $3.2-million Center houses the Jenkins Gallery and the Maguire Theatre, home to the Encore Theater Company and the Center Players. The Center also serves as a venue for live musical performances, dramatic performances for the region’s school children, art classes and summer camps.

Golden LEAF Broadband Initiative

More than 200 miles of fiber optic cable in Pasquotank County and neighboring counties give “anchor institutions” – locally, Elizabeth City State University, College of the Albemarle, and the public library – world-class broadband connectivity. The project is a part of the $105-million Golden LEAF Broadband Initiative, which includes $76 million in federal grant funding, $24 million from Golden LEAF and $5 million from the MCNC Endowment.

EC-Net Wi-Fi Covers Downtown

Businesses and patrons of Elizabeth City’s downtown area can access EC-Net, a new Wi-Fi hotspot that is transmitted in a 20-block area from Water to Road streets, and from Ehringhaus to Elizabeth streets. In addition to serving the business community, EC-Net is an amenity that will be enjoyed by visitors, boaters, shoppers and perspective new businesses seeking affordable connectivity. EC-Net sponsors include the Elizabeth City | Pasquotank County Economic Development Commission; Vector CSP; the Wells Fargo Foundation; Twiford EC Main, LLC; and Elizabeth City Downtown Inc., with funding from an ElectriCities’ Smart Communities grant facilitated by the City of Elizabeth City. InteliPort, a broadband communications company, installed the system at cost and will maintain it at no charge.

United States Coast Guard

The United States Coast Guard is the largest single employer in Elizabeth City, with 850 enlisted personnel, 650 full-time civilian employees, and approximately 700 individuals working under contract. All major overhaul work on the Coast Guard’s aircraft fleet is performed in Elizabeth City, and all individuals in its Aviation division are trained here. The Coast Guard recently opened a new and greatly expanded Exchange, a $28-million rescue-swimmers training facility and a new dormitory. The Coast Guard also recently acquired two 80,000 square-foot hangars from private contractor DRS C3.

DRS C3 and Aviation

DRS continues to employ 270 workers at an average annual salary of $55,000 in the hangars acquired by the Coast Guard.

Telephonics Technical Support Services

Telephonics Corporation, which supplies the radar for the U.S. Coast Guard’s HC-144A Ocean Sentry aircraft, opened a repair facility and 23,000 square foot hangar adjacent to the Elizabeth City Regional Airport in June 2010.

Farm Fresh Food & Pharmacy

This upscale Virginia-based chain opened its first North Carolina store in Elizabeth City in January 2005. The 50,000-square foot store includes a Starbucks.

Walmart Supercenter

This 208,000 square foot facility with an additional 30,000 square feet of adjacent retail space opened to huge crowds in January 2007 in one of Walmart’s most successful grand openings.

W.C. Witherspoon Memorial Library and Public Safety Building

The 22,500 square foot library and facing public safety building in downtown Elizabeth City opened June 2007.

Museum of the Albemarle

This northeastern regional branch of the North Carolina Museum of History, with 54,000 square feet of exhibit, event and office space, opened on the Elizabeth City waterfront in April 2006.

Fairfield Inn & Suites

This 96-room hotel by Marriott on City Center Boulevard off Halstead Road Extended opened October 2007.

Food Lion

A new 38,000 square foot Food Lion opened October 2008 on Weeksville Highway near Elizabeth City State University.

Elizabeth City Aviation Research and Development Commerce Park

This $13 million, 63-acre aviation park includes construction-ready sites suitable for construction of four hangars of up to 80,000 square feet, connected to the 7,800-foot main runway of Elizabeth City Regional Airport by a taxiway capable of supporting single-aisle commercial and C-130-size aircraft. The park eventually will include the Elizabeth City State University School of Aviation Science. A 40-acre tract owned by the City and adjacent to the taxiway provides room for expansion.

Albemarle Hospital Emergency Room Expansion and New Surgery Center

A 38,000 square foot emergency room and 31,000 square foot surgery center, valued at $44 million, were completed in June 2009.