Gene Merritt


Wilmington, North Carolina


Gene Merritt

  • Owner of GMC Real Estate

  • Real Estate Developer

  • Real Estate Appraiser

  • Real Estate Consultant

  • Community Development Specialist

  • Economic Development Specialist

  • Historic Preservationist

  • Arts Enthusiast




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.

Coal dumping

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.


Public Service

  • 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‚Äôs 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

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