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Cornelius News

Planning Board approves Mills Market

Mills Market | Highline Partners

Aug. 15. By Dave Vieser. The Cornelius Planning Board unanimously approved Mills Market, a 250,000-square-foot mixed-use project planned for downtown Cornelius. The approval last night comes with conditions, most of which are standard rezoning issues.

The project is on a prime parcel: 2.3 acres on the south side of Catawba Avenue, just east of Meridian, and west of the Cain Center for the Arts.

The old Doc Washam house at the corner of Meridian and Catawba would have to come down or be moved.

The plan now moves to the Town Board for review and possible rezoning at a public hearing, most likely in September.

Historic Doc Washam house


The revised plan voted on by the Planning Board was not as tall, nor as dense as the original 2022 version, but it did 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 changes implemented by Miller were well received by the entire planning board, as summarized by director Susan Johnson. “Mark, you really nailed it with the changes you made, and this is exactly what we were looking for. Thanks for listening.”

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.

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

—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.