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Cornelius News

Roof of historic building falls in

21320 Catawba Avenue

June 1. By Dave Yochum. The roof of a century-old brick building at 21320 Catawba Ave. in Cornelius has fallen in. Separated by an empty lot from the new Cain Center for the Arts, the historic Smith Building has been unoccupied for years.

No one was injured. The sidewalk in front and just to the east of the building was taped off early this morning.

Prime development site

See-through roof at Smith Building

Owner Corner Oak LLC, which could not be reached for comment, has assembled a number of properties to the east of the Cain Center known as the Corner Oak Land Assemblage. It is considered one of the prime commercial development sites in Cornelius.

Discussions with town officials include a boutique hotel and a parking deck.

The property at 21320 Catawba consists of 19,079 square feet of land – a little less than half an acre –along with a two-story, 3,400-square-foot building constructed around the turn of the 20th century.

It has been in disrepair for years.

Deteriorated exterior wall

Local history

The buildings on Catawba to the west of the Cain Center hearken back to Cornelius’s earliest days as a tiny farming community with a local cotton exchange. It’s a prized development site.

The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Historic Landmarks Commission Survey Committee placed the “Smith Building” at 21320 Catawba on its study list of prospective historic landmarks.

It was a first step to the possible designation of a historic landmark, and is an organizational tool used by the commission and its staff.

Farther to the west are three quaint turn-of-the-century homes that are being marketed as a single commercial parcel. Asking price: $1.6 million.

Three of the four parcels on the market contain turn-of-the century houses in various states of repair.