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Cornelius News

Update: Junker project on W. Catawba set for minor changes

The Junker parcel lies between Junker Drive and Harborview facing W. Catawba

July 5. The Junker project—a multi family housing proposal whose approval shook local politics two years ago—may undergo changes from what was approved by the Town Board. However, the total number of units does not change under the revision being considered by the developer.

“The most substantive change is conversion of the two traditional multifamily buildings fronting on West Catawba Avenue to townhome-style buildings,” said Cornelius Planning Director Rox Burhans. “The townhome-style buildings, which will house about 26 units, will be served by a private alley,” Burhans said.

With this change, a large open space will be created at the intersection of Junker Drive and West Catawba. The property currently includes the White House Gardens business.

There are 195 units in the old plan as well as the new plan.

Burhans said the units that are a part of the change will continue to be for rent and that there is no increase in the overall unit count of the project.


The project was originally proposed by developer Jake Palillo but soon after the Town Board approved the rezoning in 2021. Developer Jamie Rolewicz announced that he was taking over the project with Charlottesville, Va.-based Castle Development Partners, which specializes in the development and acquisition of upscale apartment communities as well as moderately priced workforce housing.

The town’s Predevelopment Review Committee recently reviewed the changes, with a generally positive feedback on the concept. They especially noted the improved aesthetics with the building change and liked the additional (private) open space.

The developer is currently making some minor refinements to the concept to maintain ordinance compliance as part of the administrative amendment process. If those refinements are successfully completed there will be no need for another round of public hearings.

Election issue

The original project was approved in June 2021, but not before a large number of residents voiced their opposition to the project. The final vote on the project was 4-1, with only Commissioner Denis Bilodeau opposed.

Three commissioners who voted for the project—Tricia Sisson, Thurman Ross and Michael Miltich—lost their re-election bids five months later in November 2021.