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Cornelius News

Alexander Farm poised for $110-million development

Alexander Farm is the last remaining farm in the western side of town

Oct. 5. By Dave Vieser. Only a handful of residents turned out for the final public hearing in September on the $110 million mixed-use Alexander Farm development in Cornelius. The Town Board may render its final decision on the 55-acre project on Monday Oct. 5.

Alexander Farm is the last remaining farm in the western side of town. It was actively farmed until 2013 by the late Eugene Alexander who died New Years Day 2014 at the age of 96. As farmland, it hearkens back to Cornelius’ early days as a strictly agricultural community, long before the lake, not to mention the mills that were new in the early 1900s.

The mixed-use Alexander Farm development with retail, gathering space, parkland, residential and senior housing would be transformational for the West Catawba/Westmoreland area.

It was listed at $12.5 million before being put under contract for an undisclosed amount. Developer WIN Development of Belleaire Beach, Florida, has worked through a variety of changes to the project since it was first proposed in 2017.

Changes made

Widening Westmoreland Road to four lanes from West Catawba Avenue to Eagle Ridge Drive is a major road improvement recently agreed to by WIN.

WIN will also make improvements to the entrance and exit of the Westmoreland Athletic Complex, as well as adding numerous turning lanes in the area.

WIN also reduced the number of detached single-family homes from 84 to 76, and eliminated age limits for buyers. Plans for a fire station, initially requested by the town, were also removed at the behest of the town in April. Plans for a convenience store and gas station were eliminated during the review process.

The 76 single-family homes are expected to be in the $600,000 range.

Also part of the final plans are a 130-unit, resort-style retirement complex, and 120,000 square feet of commercial development.

Planned for construction between 2021 and 2023, the retail section will include a grocery store, office building as well as a bank and restaurant.

There is a 3.2 acre park on the northern section of the development, and open space with existing trees at the corner of Westmoreland and West Catawba.

Construction could begin in 12 to 24 months if the project is approved by the town. Demolition of the existing buildings on the site could occur sooner.

Public comment

Residents attended the hearing in September.

• Mike Scott, who lives adjacent to the site, bemoaned the fact that so much green space will go away. “Today when I sit on my patio I see trees, but that’s going to end and I regret that.”

• Jeanne Welch, from the Admirals Quarters development across West Catawba, asked the town to ensure that the promised traffic improvements are done before building begins.

• Tom Rider, who also lives on the other side of West Catawba, said he generally supports the project but is concerned about the ability to safely cross West Catawba on foot.

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Former Mayor Gary Knox reminded the commissioners that the Alexander family has maintained the farm for decades but are now ready to move on. “Their property rights need to be protected,” he said. Knox had the listing for the former farm.

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