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Cornelius News

County budget provides $1 million for Cain Center

Theater space at Cain Center. Design by C Design/Steinberg Hart/Holzman Moss Bottino

June 3. By Dave Yochum. Mecklenburg County commissioners approved a $1.9-billion budget last night that includes $1 million for the Cain Center for the Arts in Cornelius. County Commissioner Pat Cotham helped get the dollars through the budget process. Cotham said she had a great story to share with county officials.

“I was honored to be on the steering committee and I was beyond impressed with the expertise, dedication and commitment of everyone to create a spectacular facility,” she said.


Prior to the county’s million-dollar commitment, the center was approaching $16 million toward its $25 million fundraising goal.

A $4 million bond for redeveloping the arts district in downtown Cornelius combined with a $5 million naming gift from Ericka and Bill Cain, $2 million from Kathryn Keele and her family and a $500,000 commitment from the Cashion family are the major financial building blocks so far. The town purchased the 1.9-acre site just to the west of the Police Station for $1.5 million in 2017.

Cain Center officials released more renderings of the center Tuesday, crediting architecture firms Charlotte-based C Design and New York-bsed Holzman Moss Bottino Architecture, which has since merged with Steinberg Hart in Los Angeles. Steinberg Hart now comprises more than 150 architecture and design professionals in Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Jose, San Diego, New York and China.

Famed architect Malcolm Holzman—the Holzman in Holzman Moss Bottino Architecture—said “with Steinberg Hart, we look forward to digging along the vein of architecture” his firm has worked for five decades.


“Architecture with ethos, gravitas, heart and the full dimension that only design excellence provides,” he said.

Now that the drawings are finalized, Cain Center officials will be working with the town to schedule the demolition of the existing buildings that once comprised a cotton gin, scale and warehouse dating back to Cornelius’ days as a farm community.

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Project budget

The project shapes up this way on the cost side:

Building Construction: $18,400,000
Equipment & Furnishings: $2,500,000
Professional Services: $2,000,000
Administrative Costs: $600,000
Land Purchase: $1,500,000