The North Carolina Ports Authority is one step closer to a Brunswick County international terminal. It has made a pre-development agreement with an Illinois based developer. All along we have been hearing that this new terminal would be a public-private partnership. Now, Centerpoint Properties is the leading candidate to be the private developer. The company will work with the ports authority and answer questions to determine whether it will be an eventual partner. People with the ports authority emphasize the improved tax base, thousands of jobs, and economic impact the terminal would have on both Brunswick County and the state. The $2.3 billion project on 600 acres of Southport land has been a controversial topic for months. Bill Bennett, N.C. Ports Authority, said "To the people in Brunswick County who are opposed to the port, this is one step in that long complex process, and we are going to be listening to them when they communicate with us." According to the ports authority, the potential developer will conduct studies of the site, looking at possible impacts of the project, as well as focusing on public safety and infrastructure. The review will also look at how to minimize impacts on the surrounding area, which is a concern of many local people.