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Cornelius News

Mills Market: Planning Board to review key downtown project tonight

Mills Market | Highline Partners

Aug. 14. By Dave Vieser. Mills Market, a 2.3 acre mixed-use project planned for downtown Cornelius, will be reviewed this evening by the Planning Board. If the planners give it an OK, the project will then move on for a crucial town board rezoning public hearing, most likely to be held in September.

The project has had a significant number of modifications since it was first unveiled last year. The new proposal is not as tall, nor as dense as before, but it will have a larger commercial component than the one originally presented.

Developer Mark Miller of Highline Partners told Cornelius Today that, “we heard from the Town and Town Commissioners that we needed to increase the amount of commercial in the project.”

The project is on the south side of Catawba, just east of Meridian, and west of the Cain Center for the Arts.

Changes include:

—Density: 263 units has been reduced to a maximum of 238 units.

—Height: The original six-story structure has been scaled down to a four-story building fronting Catawba Avenue.

—Commercial/retail: The commercial component of 7,000 to 8,000 square feet has been increased to approximately 12,000 square feet.

Miller will target restaurants, retail and boutique mercantile businesses as tenants.

—Parking: Miller has agreed to provide an additional 130 public parking spaces in the lowest levels of their parking deck. These spaces will be owned and controlled by the Town and are meant to serve as additional parking for patrons of Downtown Cornelius, including the Cain Center.

—Affordable Workforce Housing: Miller has committed to providing 10 residential units at affordable workforce housing levels for a minimum of 20 years, and working with the newly created Community Development Corp. (CDC). They will also make a $30,000 contribution to the program at the closing of their construction loan.

The planning board meeting will begin at 6:30 pm in Town Hall on Catawba Avenue and it will also be streamed live on the town web site: www.Cornelius.org. Connect to “watch meetings online.”