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73 N atural-colored terrazzo flooring in the main con-course resembles undulating, glassy water and is a subtle allusion to the Cape Fear Riverwalk. “It has a free-flowing wave pattern, but it also has horizon-tal slats,” Miller says. “It was inspired by a walk along the Riverwalk on planks of wood where you see water flowing back and forth beneath you.” At the north end of the cen-ter’s large event lawn, a striking sculpture by native son artist Dumay Gorham III depicts the famed Wilmington Dram Tree. The moss-covered cypress stood a few yards into the Cape Fear River to the south of the city and served as a landmark to sailors during Colonial times. When ships coming and going would pass it, sailors would take a dram of watered-down rum to drink to a safe passage or toast a safe return through the Frying Pan Shoals at the mouth of the Cape Fear River. John Thompson, the project’s general contractor and president of J.M. Thompson from Cary, North Carolina, says the design elements accomplish the goal of emphasizing the river. “Just the way the building is situated, so that a lot of the lobby that surrounds the ball-rooms is facing out toward the water, it’s beautiful,” he says. “I have been to a couple of events there since it opened and I just listen to what other people say and they are over-whelmed with how beautiful it is, to be able to look out and see the water right there. The architecture captured all of that in the design. When it all came together at the end, it was beautiful.” www.wrightsvillebeachmagazine.com WBM


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