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Cornelius News

New hospital will grow with Cornelius

Aug. 3. By Dave Vieser. Atrium officials say they expect to be coming back to the state and the Town of Cornelius  in a few years for permission to more than triple the size of the $150 million hospital that will open here 2024.

When completed the first phase of the new Atrium hospital will contain 38 beds.

They could add as many as 100 more beds in the coming years.

“Growth in this area is inevitable and we are poised to move in that direction,” said Bill Leonard, facility executive with Atrium Health University City.

Novant Huntersville has 139 beds and is frequently full. It opened in 2004 with 50 beds on 29 acres at Exit 23.

Hospital need is urgent

Atrium officials emphasized the urgent need for the new medical care facility at the July Town Board meeting.

“This morning we did not have enough beds in our Charlotte area hospitals,” Leonard said. “We need this hospital in Cornelius right away.”


Of the 38 beds planned for Cornelius, eight will be observation beds, four will be designated Intensive Care, and the remainder will be medical/surgical beds. There will be two operating rooms in the new hospital, along with other rooms for procedures, tests and lab work.

There will also be a helipad on the new hospital property.

Traffic considerations

The property for the new hospital is on the west side of Hwy. 21/Statesville Road. The main entrance will be close to the future intersections of  Hwy. 21 and the Bailey Road extension, while a second entrance will be located where the current Bailey Road intersects with 21.

Deputy Town Manager Wayne Herron said that the south entrance near the Bailey Road extension will most likely serve as the main access point, with a full service traffic signal.

The current Bailey Road intersection site will be structured as a “right in/right out only” entrance and exit for the hospital.

However the specific traffic layout will not be known until the Traffic Impact Analysis is completed and approved.

Town officials are also hopeful that the need for quick and safe access to and from the new hospital will strengthen the case for the NCDOT to make more improvements in the area—including a new Exit 27 at Westmoreland.

From farm to a hospital

The site is the former Cook family farm which sold for $34 million to an Arizona developer in 2006, before the real estate market collapsed. Renamed Augustalee, it was at one time planned as a major mixed-use development similar to Birkdale Village.

The site was ultimately purchased for $7.3 million after Fifth Third foreclosed on the project.

Rezoning still needed

Atrium is requesting to rezone 28.85 acres of the 97-acre parcel they own on the west side of Statesville Road/Hwy. 21. Their current plans call for medical offices to the north of the new hospital, as well as support buildings between the hospital and I-77. Those facilities will encompass approximately 90,000 square feet.

The maximum height of the new hospital will be no more than six stories, or 120 feet. Atrium officials said they are still evaluating the precise height needed and would report back to the town.

What’s next?

The town will review the plans submitted by the authority, then schedule public review and hearings before the town Planning Board as well as the full Town Board at dates to be announced.