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Cornelius News

Community meeting Wednesday on new Alexander Farm plan

July 16. By Dave Vieser. A new conceptual plan for the development of the vacant Alexander Farm Property in Cornelius is a step in the right direction, but still needs to be tweaked, according to top town officials.

The new proposal encompasses a mix of commercial/retail, retirement housing, and age restricted town homes, along with over four acres dedicated to parkland.

Previous plans for the 54 acre site have not been met with enthusiasm by either town officials or residents, but the applicant, WIN Development LLC of Huntersville, was hoping this one would fare better.

It did, but perhaps not enough.

“My perception is that it is still high on the number of residences planned,” Mayor Woody Washam said during the town’s pre-development committee meeting Monday July 15. “I’d like to see fewer number of units.”


Washam was also not pleased that the developers failed to include space for a new fire station. “Thats the right area for a third town fire station. Something that would match the development would be ideal.”

Speaking on behalf of the developer, WIN Development of Huntersville, attorney Susan Irvin took mild issue with the Mayor’s comments. “Keep in mind we have already donated over four acres for parkland, and that’s about a million dollar hit” she said.

However, Town Manager Andrew Grant concurred with the Mayor. “While I agree that you are moving in the right direction, the plan still needs less homes and room for the fire station. I believe the Town Board will offer the same critique.”

The plan will be the subject of a community meeting Wednesday July 17 in Town Hall at 6 pm and a Public Hearing on Monday August 5, also at Town Hall. The July 17 meeting is in the Community Room.


Here’s the breakdown on the new proposal:

Retail/commercial: 18.75 acres are planned for development, fronting on West Catawba Avenue, Westmoreland Road and new interior roadways. Approximately 85,000 square feet are to be set aside for this development, including 29,000 sq ft on Catawba for a “grocer.” 

No specific chains were mentioned. Specialty food stores such as Aldi and Trader Joe’s have been suggested previously.

The plan also includes age-restricted housing and parks.

Retirement residential: A 130-room resort style residential housing complex would be located in the interior section of the property. It would front on a new interior roadway which will run from the intersection of Catawba Ave and Village Harbor Drive eastward, then southeastward until intersecting with Westmoreland Road. The multi-story housing complex would encompass approximately five acres.

Age restricted residential: Approximately 84 detached units are planned on 18 acres, also on the interior section of the property, starting north of the retirement residential and extending eastward.

Finally, about 4.3 acres is reserved for parkland within the extreme northern section of the property, behind the age restricted residential units.  This would be adjacent to a town owned vacant landlocked parcel which runs under the Duke Energy right of way.

Multiple levels of approval will be required before the project can begin, including a comprehensive traffic impact analysis (TIA).

The importance of this development was clearly not lost on those in attendance at the July 15 meeting. The highly visible site, one of the last such vacant parcels in the town, 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.

“This is an extremely critical development for our town,” said Mayor Washam, ” and we have got to get it right.”