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Cornelius News

Alexander Farm: Price tag is $18 million

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Zack Wyatt of the Carolina Farm Trust at Alexander Farm

Dec. 8By Dave Vieser. One of the last large parcels of land in Cornelius—and the last farm west of I-77—is for sale. The 54-acre Alexander Farm, located at the corner of West Catawba Avenue and Westmoreland Road, was listed this week at $18 million by Ryan Bentley of SRA Homes of Mooresville.

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The $18 million price-tag works out to an astonishing $333,333 an acre, which turns out to be what Scottsdale, Ariz., developer Walt Rector paid for the Augustalee property on the east side of I-77. The planned mixed-use development, of course, failed and Augustalee went into foreclosure.

The Alexander Farm was actively farmed until 2013 by the late Eugene Alexander, a graduate of the old Cornelius High School. He died New Years Day 2014 at the age of 96.

“We’re thinking maybe a high-end retail store such as a Trader Joe’s on the Catawba Avenue side, with the homes and office buildings further east,” said Bentley, Eugene’s grandson. “But we’re anxious to see what prospective buyers would like to do with the land.”

A preliminary site plan includes three retail outparcels on the 700-foot stretch facing Catawba Avenue occupying 16,000 square feet; a 56,000 square foot neighborhood retail center east of that, then 50,000 square feet for offices. Townhomes are also included in the plan, with lots ranging in size from 25 to 38 feet wide.

featured_AlexanderFarmBack in the summer, town officials told Cornelius Today they had met with two developers who expressed an interest in the property. “After contacting the Alexander family, we advised the developers that the family had no intention of selling or developing the property at that time,” said Planning Director Wayne Herron.

Some residents were taken aback by news that the property is for sale. For one thing, the bucolic vistas are fast disappearing. For another, development means more traffic.

“Even without the cows, just having that nice large open piece of land provides such a nice balance to our neighborhood,” said Anne McAuliffe, who lives nearby in the Harborside Villages. “I am very concerned about the additional traffic this will generate,” said Debbie Smith who lives in Vineyard Point. “I don’t know how our roads can handle more than they do now.”

And Zack Wyatt, the Cornelius resident who founded the Carolina Farm Trust, said Cornelius is on the brink of becoming a sprawling, homogenized suburb.

“I’m speechless. This makes you question a lot of things. Keeping that property a farm would be a great value to Cornelius and for all its residents. Now it will be condos or apartments which will be more of a drain on Cornelius than a gain. Few people make a lot of money while the rest of us deal with the ramifications,” he said. The Carolina Farm Trust is actively raising the money to buy and preserve a working farm in Lincoln County.

Bentley said interest in keeping the farm in the family waned when his grandfather passed away.
Open space is wonderful, but someone has to pay for it and pay the taxes on the land. Wyatt’s key fundraiser, the Carolina Jubilee concert festival, lost money this fall. He covered the losses with $5,000 of his own money.

Discussion

4 Responses to “Alexander Farm: Price tag is $18 million”

  1. The Alexander Farm should be an historical landmark as the first Black-owned farm in NC. I adore TJs. Worked with corporate to bring them here in early 2000s. As much as I want a TJs on Catawba, this is wrong. Would love to see this as a working farm Cornelius owns and runs.

    Posted by Anette Powell | December 9, 2015, 8:13 pm
  2. I think its very sad. I am sure Eugene never wanted this to happen..but such is progress

    Posted by Laurie I | December 10, 2015, 9:56 am
  3. If the toll lane project succeeds, any development on this property will be futile. Property values are soon to plummet everywhere in the east Lake Norman area. Of course it’s always sad to see open space being developed, especially by someone who doesn’t live here.

    Posted by Mark Howlett | December 11, 2015, 8:25 am
  4. I’m going to miss all the cows and hearing them moo!
    I’m also interested in the little White House sitting out to the right of the main house. I would like to know if it can be bought and taken away?
    Call 704-439-0268 and leave information please! Would love to save this and put up on my family’s country farm in Pinnacle NC.
    Berinda Gail Jackson
    17009 Doe Vallry Court
    Cornelius,NC 28031

    Posted by Berinda Gail Jackson | December 28, 2015, 12:23 am

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