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Cornelius News

Land ripe for development hints at our agrarian past


By Dave Vieser. With the 104-acre Augustalee property under contract for a possible sale, it’s a good time to look at three other development sites, two of which hearken back to Cornelius’ past as a farming community during the 18th and 19th centuries.

It looks like they will be plowed under in the coming years, some sooner than others.

The Alexander Farm at the corner of Westmoreland and West Catawba, now on the market at $12.5 million, may be closest to being developed, most likely as a mixed-use project. A working farm up until a few years ago, this 54-acre property gave newcomers a glimpse of the agrarian Cornelius of days gone by. While the only connection left with the farming era today is when the owners have the grass cut and rolled into hay, the property sits waiting for an enterprising developer. Town Planning Director Wayne Herron said the NCDOT is still deciding what needs to be studied in a Traffic Impact Analysis. Some of the issues which may impact on any development at this site include the widening of West Catawba, intersection improvements at Westmoreland and Catawba and the possible addition of an Exit 27 on I-77.

The Village at Magnolia is a proposed mixed-use residential development just southeast of the intersection of Magnolia Estates Drive and West Catawba and the Publix shopping center. The site consists of almost 17 acres of vacant property, running behind existing retail, including the Dunkin’ Donuts. Plans call for 20,400 square feet of office/retail space, 225 condos, and five luxury townhomes. Any future development would be accessed, in part, by an extension of Nantz Road northeastward from its current terminus on West Catawba Avenue.

Acreage on Bailey Road opposite Bailey Road Middle School that has been farmed for decades is listed at $3.5 million with Lowrance Properties. There are no development plans at the moment.