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Cornelius News

No place for home: Historic tenant house has no place to go

Tenant house / Photo by Jason Benavides

March 14. By Dave Yochum. It turns out there’s a glitch in the efforts to save the tenant house on the Alexander Farm at the corner of Westmoreland and West Catawba. The town may have identified a permanent site, but it won’t be ready any time soon. Meanwhile, an April 12 demolition deadline is looming.

Developer Jesse McInerney, of WIN Development based in Florida, said he is trying to assist with a temporary relocation, but so far, with a variety of governments involved—and a shortage of property—there’s not a plan even as clearing is about the get under way.


Catch 22?

“It’s a Catch 22,” said historian Dan Morrill, who assists Preserve Mecklenburg Inc. (PMI), the non-profit which has the funds to move the tenant house—once.

The Town is “currently in contact with Mecklenburg County,” since the county owns Robbins Park, a possible temporary location, according to Assistant Town Manager Wayne Herron.


For the local historic preservation community, this is not a new thing. The Alexander Farm went on the market in 2015. Development plans were worked out in 2019 and 2020 with WIN Development, which plans a $100 million-plus mixed-use project.

The purchase of the property was finalized in December.

A ‘mess’

“Our development team acted in good faith in every aspect to negotiate the MOA for the handling of the Tenant House and worked hand in hand with PMI and SHPO to accomplish this,” McInerney said, explaining that they and PMI were excluded from discussions above re-siting the tenant house.

Right now, he’s hoping for more open and faster communications to move the tenant house before the bulldozers get to work

“The Town has created this mess by acting without a full understanding or concern for all the intricacies,” McInerney said in an email.

In a pickle”

Morrill said he has not heard from the Cornelius Historic Preservation Committee during efforts to save the tenant house. Morrill also indicated that McInerney has been highly cooperative and is not pushing to demolish the tenant house. “I’m in a pickle,” Morrill said.

The tenant house is sited in the upper left corner of the 55 acre farm facing West Catawba. Westmoreland runs along the bottom of the image taken from Mecklenburg County property records