CastleBranch HQ, Tek Mountain think tank debut


Although it may be a fit for the refined brick office buildings that surround it on Sir Tyler Drive, the interior of the new three-story CastleBranch building was designed to set it and the company apart.

On Friday, May 23, CastleBranch CEO Brett Martin led a tour of the new space made possible with $500,000 in incentives from the city of Wilmington and New Hanover County, and $1.23 million in incentives from North Carolina to remain and expand in Wilmington.

The building’s features include an expansive gym with AstroTurf flooring managed by Forged Strength and Conditioning, a company food truck with a menu inspired by vegetables grown in the company garden and a third-floor technology business incubator, Tek Mountain.

At Tek Mountain there is space for as many as 20-30 tech start-up companies with individual workspace bays with glass garage doors doubling as wipe boards.

The building is set to open June 26, and Martin said the business selection process would be very competitive.

“We want to be very selective; we want to pick the right people and the right community,” Martin said. “We can’t just fill it up, we are not in the office space rental business; we are into finding technologies that we have a great knowledge base in like education and allied health technology.”

Designed by Wilmington architect David Lisle, the new CastleBranch building will serve two needs for the company, Martin said.

“First we just ran out of space … and then at the same time I realized I needed a sandbox where I can think outside the box and other companies can think outside the box,” he said. “This environment is dedicated to that idea.”

Lisle spent about five months designing the building built in 10 months. The main idea was flexibility.

“If you walk through every space it has the opportunity to be as closed or open as you want it to be,” Lisle said. “What is so unique about this is we have designed furniture and … everything you see here. Everything was specifically designed for this building and the way they want to function.”

North Carolina Secretary of Commerce Sharon Decker was in Wilmington for the tour and said the innovation of CastleBranch and Tek Mountain would help keep college graduates in North Carolina.

“As we are doing our research around the country and the world about what are the things that North Carolina can offer the world, one of those is technology,” Decker said. “To be able to have companies that partner with us knowing that the talent is here in the region is very exciting.”

In return for the economic incentives provided to CastleBranch by the city, county and state, the company is required to create 420 new jobs by 2017 to receive the full amount and Martin said the company is ahead of schedule with its new hires.

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