The original plan for Craven Thirty included a large, robust area for commercial and light industrial development.
Remember back in2012, all the buzz about Craven Thirty? All that sweet, sweet new retail space, a multiplex theater, and new neighborhoods? You probably also remember how last year Craven Thirty morphed into West Craven, with less focus on business and more focus on residential.
Now, more than a year later, West Craven has emerged into the public eye again. Its developer, Weyerhaeuser NR Company, is asking for the city to enter into a development agreement. It is on the Board of Aldermen’s agenda for next Tuesday, when the board is expected to set a date for a public hearing.
And this latest version of West Craven looks a lot like the original Craven Thirty, but with even more commercial space.
The city entered into a development agreement with Weyerhaeuser Real Estate Development Company in September 2010 for what was to become Craven Thirty. The city annexed the 550-acres Craven Thirty property in December 2012.
A ribbon cutting was conducted by then-Gov. Bev Perdue, and construction was announced to begin in spring 2013. Some streets were put in, along with other infrastructure, but nothing else was built during he intervening six years. Blame the economy.
The revised and renamed project would include just under 250 acres for residential development, just under 250 acres of commercial development, just over 47 acres for light industrial, and just over 27 acres of agriculture forestry district with low-density residential uses.
The plan calls for a total of 1,500 residential units phased in over 15 years, 500,000 square feet of non-residential space, a 150-room hotel sometime during the first five years, and 10 acres for a private school, also during the first five years.
The agreement establishes the development phasing sequences for the project, establishes a Master Development Plan and development review process that can accommodate the timing, phasing and flexibility of the project, coordinates the construction and design of infrastructure that will serve the project and the community at large, confirms the dedication and/or provision of public amenities by the developer, and provides assurances to the developer that it may proceed with the project in accordance with the approved original zoning and the terms of this agreement without encountering future changes in ordinances, regulations, technical standards or policies that would affect its ability to develop the relevant parcels under the approved zoning and the terms hereof.
The project will include small neighborhoods, a walkable village area, and connections to open space that will “support and reinforce the City of New Bern as an attractive place to live, work and recreate.” The size and scale of the project requires a long-term commitment of both public and private resources and requires careful integration between the programming of public capital facilities, the phasing of development and the development review and approval process.
The West Craven site is well suited for access from all parts of New Bern, or it will be. It is located at the intersection of U.S. 70 and the N.C. 43 connector. There are plans to extend the N.C. 43 connector from where it now ends just west of U.S. 70, all the way through to U.S. 17.
Pictured are left to right, Ervin Patrick, PIE past president; Millie McLaney Chalk with Duke Energy; Darlene Brown PIE executive director; and Don Brinkley, PIE president.
Craven County Partners In Education won a grant from Duke Energy for $4,500 for the STREAM Lab at Bridgeton Elementary.
The grant demonstrates Duke Energy Foundation’s continued support of education, environment, economic and workforce development, and community impact. This grant will take Bridgeton Elementary’s STEM Lab to a STREAM Lab (including reading and art) and expand it to include grades K-2.
The mission of Craven County Partners In Education is to support and advance educational experiences within Craven County Schools through collaborative community involvement. If you would like to learn how your organization can make a difference through Craven County Schools’ local education foundation, PIE, contact Darlene Brown, Executive Director, at 252-514-6321.
Weyerhaeuser Company (NYSE: WY) announced it will donate a total of $250,000 to several organizations providing relief efforts in eastern North Carolina in the wake of Hurricane Florence.
The grants will be distributed to disaster-relief and community-service organizations in the company’s operating areas. The Coastal Carolina and Eastern North Carolina chapters of the American Red Cross will receive support for their relief work in Craven, Beaufort and Washington Counties.
Additional donations will be made to the Salvation Army for efforts in Beaufort and Washington Counties; Religious Community Services (RCS) for needs in New Bern; and Disaster Recovery Partner for support in Pitt County.
“We’re pleased to announce donations to our community partners who are providing much-needed relief for the citizens of eastern North Carolina,” said Brian Chaney, Regional Timberlands Manager. “More than 500 Weyerhaeuser employees call this area home including the Timberlands management team based in Vanceboro. The company’s support for local relief organizations will complement all the ways they are helping neighbors and giving back in their communities during this challenging time.”
Alan Sherrington, East Region Manufacturing Vice President, added: “Our employees and communities were significantly impacted by Hurricane Florence. Weyerhaeuser will be part of this long recovery and we are grateful for the critical work our partner organizations do in times like this. We appreciate the close-knit family of Weyerhaeuser employees and the supportive communities near our lumber mills in Vanceboro, Greenville and Plymouth.”
Weyerhaeuser Company is one of the world’s largest private owners of timberlands, with 12.4 million acres under its ownership or control. The company has been in business since 1900.
Governor Cooper announces 33 jobs and $2.25M investment in Craven County
McGuckin & Pyle, Inc., a manufacturer of custom lamination and processing equipment, chose Craven County for its new plant, creating 33 new jobs and investing $2.25 million, N.C. Department of Commerce Secretary Anthony M. Copeland announced today. The company will bring mechanical and electrical control system assembly and machinery services to New Bern.
“Much of our state is hurting after Hurricane Florence. As we continue to support each other and start to recover and rebuild, McGuckin & Pyle’s choice to move to New Bern and belief in this community underscores North Carolina’s resilience,” said Secretary Copeland. “This is a company that picked North Carolina because of our people, and they are committed to rebuilding together with all of us in North Carolina.”
McGuckin & Pyle produces custom processing industrial equipment such as laminators, winding and unwinding machines, carton forming machines and more. Additionally, the company offers mechanical, electrical and automation control system design and engineering along with machining and fabrication services which will also be located at the New Bern facility. McGuckin & Pyle is privately owned with headquarters and only current facility in Downingtown, Pennsylvania.
“Extending our operations into North Carolina is a real game-changer for our company, and we are committed to rebuilding Craven County and helping play a part in getting people back on their feet after Hurricane Florence,” said Keith Connolly, President for McGuckin & Pyle. “Strategically, this growth is a necessity. We have many clients in the Carolinas and this expansion will allow us to broaden our level of support to those businesses. Craven County was integral in navigating the possible incentives that were available for our business. It was a combination of their efforts and the generous support awarded to us that ultimately convinced us that this was the site for our continued growth.”
“Craven County has the workforce needed for manufacturers to be successful, and McGuckin & Pyle knows that no hurricane can take that away from this strong community,” continued Secretary Copeland. “McGuckin & Pyle will move into Craven County Industrial Park, and the strong transportation and utility infrastructure there will support the company’s growth in the Carolinas and beyond.”
The North Carolina Department of Commerce and the Economic Development Partnership of N.C. (EDPNC) were instrumental in supporting the company’s expansion decision.
Salaries for the new jobs will vary by position but will average $44,304, which is more than the average wage of $37,1746 in Craven County.
A performance-based grant of $70,000 from the One North Carolina Fund will help facilitate McGuckin & Pyle’s move to North Carolina. The One N.C. Fund provides financial assistance to local governments to help attract economic investment and to create jobs. Companies receive no money upfront and must meet job creation and capital investment targets to qualify for payment. All One NC grants require a matching grant from local governments and any award is contingent upon that condition being met.
“As we continue to respond and recover from Hurricane Florence, McGuckin & Pyle’s move to New Bern is a welcome bright spot,” said N.C. Senator Norman W. Sanderson. “Our focus right now is getting people back on their feet, and bringing more good jobs can only help that effort.”
In addition to North Carolina Commerce and the Economic Partnership of North Carolina, other key partners in the project include the North Carolina General Assembly, the North Carolina Community College System, Craven County, the Craven 100 Alliance, North Carolina’s Southeast Regional Economic Development Partnership and Duke Energy.
Location map for a proposed dental office next to Chick-fil-A at New Bern Mall.
Times are tough for brick and mortar retail locations, particularly indoor malls. Just look at Vernon Mall in Kinston (hint: it’s vacant).
New Bern Mall (aka Twin Rivers Mall) has been soldiering on, trying to fill remaining vacant out parcels and upgrade its interior tenants over the past several years.
One such attempt was securing a Cracker Barrel. The mall’s owner, Hull Property Group, filled in a drainage pond and completely re-engineered its drainage system along with part of its parking lot in order to make space for a Cracker Barrel.
The Cracker Barrel was to be located in the southeast corner of the mall, next to Chick-fil-A, a restaurant that is so busy it creates its own traffic jams near the mall entrance.
The deal fell through.
Now Hull Property Group is developing a portion of that location as a dental office.
The site plan describes the facility as a shell building, which usually implies that a tenant will be sought after the building is complete. However, Hull Property Group, on its website, announced back in March that Aspen Dental would be opening a location. The announcement was brief and to the point: “Aspen Dental will be coming to the New Bern Mall and will occupy approximately 3,500 sf.”
Floorplan of the proposed dental office at New Bern Mall.
Now, plans for a dental office are coming before the city Departmental Review Committee on Sept. 14. That’s the stage where the site plan gets reviewed and critiqued by various city departments to make sure it passes muster.
A project plan at this stage is no guarantee that the project will actually happen.
The addition of a dental office to the New Bern Mall footprint is not exactly an exciting addition. It’s maybe even less exciting than the Mattress Firm store that opened there several years ago. Certainly it’s nowhere near as exciting as the Buffalo Wild Wings and Starbucks that opened there during the same timeframe, and the renovation of Belk about eight years ago.
Still, given the congested nature of that portion of the New Bern Mall parking lot, a dental office may be a good fit.
New Bern Mall has faced stiff competition for new tenants since the development of New Bern Marketplace farther west on Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard. That new shopping center landed an enlarged Harris Teeter, Ross, Hobby Lobby, Academy Sports, and, unofficially, several restaurants.
GateHouse Media, owner of the Sun Journal of New Bern as well as newspapers in Kinston, Havelock, Marine Air Station Cherry Point, Camp Lejeune, Trenton, and Jacksonville, is offering buyouts in an attempt to further trim its payroll.
GateHouse is seeking volunteers to accept a buyout package that offers six days pay for each year of employment. The cut takes effect on Sept. 7. Employees must decide by today, Aug. 27.
Between Kinston and New Bern, staff has gone from a total of more than 30 a decade ago, to 11 now, with perhaps more cuts in the offing. The Post is aware of more than a half dozen GateHouse employees who plan to take the buyouts, scattered across New Bern, Kinston, and Jacksonville locations.
If buyout goals are not met, GateHouse will resort to layoffs.
Buyouts leave GateHouse with the flexibility to fill vacated positions with lower-paid workers, however the company has not shown any desire to fill vacant positions. Layoffs force the company to leave affected positions vacant, or reorganize in order to disguise any old positions that must be filled.
Employees who accept the buyouts or, in cases of layoffs, severance packages, are forced to sign agreements barring them from working for competing companies and from saying anything disparaging about GateHouse for at least a year following termination.
That results not only in smaller newspaper newsrooms, but the departure of experienced local journalists who are knowledgeable about the area.
New Bern is already losing its managing editor, Ken Buday, who is being transferred to be in charge of the Globe, the Camp Lejeune base newspaper GateHouse runs under contract with the Department of Defense.
Meanwhile, the Kinston Free Press, which shares resources with the Sun Journal and is under the management of the same editor, Chris Segal, is down to one reporter following the departure of one reporter within recent weeks. That puts additional strain on New Bern’s staff to fill any gaps in Kinston.
GateHouse already announced plans to shutter its regional pressroom, mail room, and call center in Jacksonville, and move some of those operations to its Fayetteville location. That will affect another 40 jobs.
It leaves one to wonder what GateHouse’s long-term strategy is with its local properties. At current rates, newsrooms will reach zero staffing within five years, outpacing declines in print circulation, which could reach zero within a decade.
Growth in online readers (for both the website and an “e-edition” of the print products) has historically not kept pace with declines in print readers.
GateHouse is not alone in its effort to reduce payroll expenses. McClatchy, which owns the News & Observer in Raleigh, the Charlotte Observer, and the Durham Herald-Sun, is laying off nearly 4 percent of its staff.
The North Carolina Restaurant & Lodging Association, creator and host of the annual NCRLA Chef Showdown presented by Got to be NC Agriculture, announced the 21 chefs selected to compete in its third annual cooking competition.
Among those selected is Antonio Campolio of Persimmons Waterfront Restaurant in New Bern.
The chefs and pastry chefs, all based in North Carolina, advance after cooking up the highest-rated dishes across three regional competitions. The main NCRLA Chef Showdown event takes place on Monday, Aug. 27, at Aria at Founders Hall in the Bank of America Center in Uptown Charlotte, N.C.
Antonio Campolio, NCRLA Chef Showdown 2018 finalist. He is executive chef at Persimmons Waterfront Restaurant in New Bern.
From the Persimmons website: At the age of 12, Chef Campolio began washing dishes at his parents’ restaurant. Beginning at age 18, Chef Campolio worked his way through the world famous Greenbrier Hotel’s Culinary Internship Program, learning valuable skills he still uses daily. After his time at the Greenbrier, Chef Campolio continued his career at 700 Drayton in Savannah, Ga. and later at the Broadmoor Hotel in Colorado Springs, Co. Before coming to Persimmons, Chef Campolio was the Executive Chef at the Marcus Whitman Hotel in Walla Walla, Wa., where he lead the restaurant to numerous national accolades including Restaurant of the Year by the Washington Wine Commission. During his time in Washington, Chef Campolio was invited to cook a meal at the James Beard House (named for the legendary American chef) in New York City, one of the highest honors a chef can receive.
Recently becoming a father, Chef Campolio and his wife, Zeljana, were attracted to New Bern as a great place to raise their son. “We visited and fell in love with the town for our family. Then I went to Persimmons and saw an incredible opportunity to really focus on local, sustainable food year-round. It was a perfect fit.”
In his short time at Persimmons, Chef Campolio has already established relationships with local farmers, ranchers and breweries and says the restaurant will feature bi-seasonal menus to highlight the foods that are fresh and at their peak. He wants Persimmons to be a place for “locals and tourists alike — where they can count on fresh, delicious and local food, whether just getting a beer and appetizer or enjoying lunch or dinner.”
“This year’s slate of contenders includes some of the most innovative and talented chefs in our state. At the showdown, these chefs will use North Carolina ingredients to demonstrate their creativity and shine a light on our incredible hospitality industry. Attendees will get a taste of why North Carolina’s culinary scene is one of the best in the nation,” said NCRLA President and CEO Lynn Minges.
Selected chefs – sorted into two food categories, savory and sweet – are vying for the 2018 “NCRLA Chef of the Year” and “NCRLA Pastry Chef of the Year” awards. Chefs will prepare and serve tasting-sized portions to event attendees. The dishes, judged by five culinary experts, receive scores on presentation, taste, and use of local ingredients from North Carolina.
NCRLA will crown a 2018 “NCRLA Mixologist of the Year,” as six North Carolina distilleries partner with hand-picked bartenders to craft cocktails for guests and judges to enjoy. Distillery and mixologist teams will be announced in the coming weeks.
The Entrepreneur Center of Craven County (TEC3) is holding Duct Tape Marketing™ seminars on Thursday, June 14. Two Sessions will be held at TEC3 at 233 Middle St #310, New Bern. Participants can choose the 9 a.m. – Noon or the 1 – 4 p.m. session. Lunch will be held from Noon to 1 p.m. The price for the seminar is $45 and includes lunch and materials. Current TEC3 members may attend the seminar and lunch at no charge. To register, visit www.cravenbusiness.com.
Leading the seminars will be Dan Kraus, president of Leading Results, who is a Duct Tape Marketing certified consultant. Kraus has more than two decades of experience in sales, marketing and go-to-market strategies, and he has developed a deep portfolio of experiences that he uses to help small businesses profitably grow their businesses.
“The popular Duct Tape Marketing books and marketing system really helps small businesses find affordable and creative ways to find and keep customers. We are really excited to bring marketing veteran Dan Kraus and Duct Tape Marketing approach to New Bern to help our area entrepreneurs,” said Dan Spangler, board chair, TEC3.
The Entrepreneur Center of Craven County (TEC3) is an entrepreneurial development program intended to educate, support, and cultivate new business growth in Craven and surrounding counties. TEC3 is a collaborative partnership between multiple community partners in the eastern region. TEC3 focuses on the expanding the existing entrepreneurial culture and offering co-working, incubator style space with a community resource (one-stop) center. TEC3 is where “start-up” businesses can launch their operations and small business owners interact and collaborate. TEC3 has been generously supported by the following organizations: Craven County, the Craven 100 Alliance, Swiss Bear Development, and others. For more information, go to the organization’s web site at: cravenbusiness.com/TECCC.
The owners of Courts Plus will close their struggling New Bern location on May 31 and focus their resources on the Jacksonville location.
Owners Jan and Tim Stelma made the announcement in a letter to club members.
“May 31, 2018, will be the last day of operations for Courts Plus of New Bem. As you all know, we were forced into bankruptcy almost two years ago and have been working hard to continue operations. Despite the best efforts of all, New Barn continues to suffer financially. My husband and I will continue full operations in Jacksonville and put our efforts there.”
The Stelmas bought the Jacksonville Courts Plus in 1989 and the New Bern club in 1990.
“We do not know what will become of the club or property in New Bern, but we do know we walk away wtth heavy hearts In this very difficult season.”
They said they may offer limited memberships to New Bern club members to use the Jacksonville club.
Located at 2911 Brunswick Ave., Courts Plus is a full-service health club with indoor and outdoor pools. Its troubles coincide with the arrival of Planet Fitness, whose prices undercut other fitness services in New Bern.
Five Guys is noted for its infinitely customizable burgers and overly generous portions of fries. Oh, and unshelled peanuts. Let’s not forget the unshelled peanuts. Photo by Jerry Huddleston
A lot of news on the business front today, some well-sourced but awaiting official confirmation:
New Bern Marketplace, the up-and-coming shopping center between Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard and Trent Road, may well wind up as a dining destination.
Columbia Development, the developer of the large shopping center, has not updated its tenant list (which already includes a Hobby Lobby, Five Below, Academy Sports, Ross, and, at 100,000 square feet, the Mother of All Harris Teeters), but reliable sources say it will be the location for Olive Garden Italian Restaurant, Five Guys Burgers and Fries, and LongHorn Steakhouse.
All three restaurants are in New Bern’s vicinity (Greenville, Morehead City, Jacksonville), but will be new to New Bern. There is a Five Guys aboard Cherry Point, but not accessible to people who don’t have access to the Marine Corps air base.
Within the massive outdoor mall’s orbit will be a new Sonic Drive-in restaurant (New Bern’s second location) next to Rite Aid, across the MLK from New Bern Marketplace, and a new Paula’s Pizza location off the MLK near New Bern High School.
In other business news:
Captain Ratty’s, the iconic seafood restaurant at Middle and South Front streets in Downtown New Bern, is reportedly up for sale.
BSH, manufacturer of world-class kitchen appliances, is adding a third dishwasher line to its New Bern plant. The new assembly line will be building high-end dishwashers.