Community Development Specialist
Economic Development Specialist
Gene Merritt is a Wilmington, North Carolina resident. He is the owner of GMC Real Estate, a commercial real estate firm offering sales, appraisals, development, and consulting services. Gene has operated GMC Real Estate since 1982.
from 1978 - 1990
Gene served as President of North Carolina I-40, Inc., a lobbying group established to promote the completion of Interstate Highway I-40 to Wilmington.
The road was opened in 1990.
Wilmington Industrial Development, Inc.
Gene served on a Committee of Wilmington Industrial Development, Inc. which successfully lobbied the US Coast Guard to station a Coast Guard Vessel in downtown Wilmington. Until prior years in which they removed a Cutter, Wilmington had enjoyed a Coast Guard presence for over 150 years. He wrote the proposal for the relocation.
Gene created and promoted HB-1099, a bill to allow development over the public trust waters of historic North Carolina cities. The bill passed with subsequent major development of riverfront restaurants and tourist-oriented businesses occurring on the eastern coast of the state.
Gene and his father led efforts to keep a coal producer from dumping coal on the waterfront in downtown Wilmington.
Gene served as Chair of the New Hanover County Citizens for Choice, a group established to allow the sale of liquor by the drink. The bill passed.
Leland Innovation Park, Inc.
Cape Fear Area United Way
New Hanover Regional Medical Center
Downtown Area Revitalization Effort, Inc.
Columbus County Chamber of Commerce and Tourism
Leland Economic Development Committee
North Fourth Street Partners, Inc.
Historic Wilmington Foundation, Inc.
Brooklyn Arts Center, Inc.
Firsts By Gene Merritt
First non-profit corporation established to promote interstate highway development in North Carolina (NC I-40, Inc.-I-40 Benson to Wilmington
Founder and President
First public/private partnership (operating economic development corporation) in North Carolina (DARE, Inc.) 1978. Co-founder and first Executive Director, President
First to amend CAMA laws in North Carolina (HB 1059)-allowing for riverfront development in North Carolina’s historic river cities-author promoter of legislation.
First to amend a city code by public election in the state of North Carolina (prevented a coal exporting facility from locating in downtown Wilmington) founder and co-director the PAC formed.
First condominium established in an existing historic building in downtown Wilmington.
(7 N. Front Street, Wilmington, NC) Developer
First urban redevelopment corporation established outside the Central Business District of Wilmington, NC (North Fourth Street Partnership, Inc.) Co-founder and first Executive Director
First fraternity at Wilmington College (Sigma Phi Kappa) Co-founder (1963)
First organized road race in southeastern North Carolina (Rotary Run-River to the Sea
Founder and first race director
First state-wide organization organized to promote arts councils-NC Association of Arts Councils, Inc./Co-founder and first President
First state-wide organization organized to promote downtown organizations-NC Downtown Development Association, Inc./Co-founder and first President
First newspaper at Wrightsville Beach-The Beach Herald-Founder/Editor/Publisher
Other firsts not as important as those mention above are too numerous to mention