Developer With Local Ties Dies in Georgia Plane Crash
A Mooresville physician who tried several times to develop a 44-acre tract between Morganton Road and U.S. 15-501 in Southern Pines, has died in an airplane crash in Augusta, Ga.
Dr. Thomas Wilson was the pilot of a single-engine Mooney M20K that crashed shortly after takeoff from the Augusta Regional Airport about 12:30 p.m. on Monday, according to airport spokeswoman Diane Johnston. The plane was taking off from the airport's main runway and crashed on a secondary runway, Johnston said.
Wilson, a developer and traveling emergency room physician, was 53. He was the developer of the Lake Norman Airpark, a public-private partnership airfield that included runway-adjacent properties.
Locally, Wilson worked with Susan Clift Brown, owner of Clift Commercial in Southern Pines, to develop 44.59 acres essentially between the Moore County Chamber of Commerce building on U.S. 15-501 and the Morganton Road soccer complex.
"It's a tragedy," Brown said Tuesday. "So many people in this community knew Tom. He spent a lot of money in this town trying to get that tract of land developed."
Wilson was the majority partner in Riverpark LLC with Dr. Vince Viscomi, of Chattanooga, Tenn. The two were classmates in medical school, and Wilson sold out to Viscomi last year.
A land acquisition deal fell through earlier this year for The Shoppes at Southern Pines, a proposed commercial development on the site that had 360,000 square feet of retail space, including three larger anchor stores and 10 smaller retail shops.
In 2004, Home Depot walked away from a deal to build on 13 acres of the property.
A large portion of the tract was under contract with Developers Diversified Realty for 17 months before a deal to build a mixed-use development fell through in December 2007.
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