CORNELIUS, N.C. (FOX 46 CHARLOTTE) – Two new major developments are in the works in Cornelius, as part of the town’s effort to breathe new life into downtown and attract more residents.
“Like most towns, we hope for a lively, pedestrian, and bike-oriented downtown,” said Deputy Town Manager Wayne Herron.
Herron says interest in developing Cornelius’ downtown corridor started to boom with the announcement of the Cain Center for the Arts, an $18 million project that broke ground in May.
“We’ve had enormous numbers of contacts with developers looking to restaurants, looking to do housing,” he said.
One of those projects is ‘The Venue,’ a five-story apartment building with commercial space on the bottom. It would be the first of its kind in downtown Cornelius. City leaders hope it will attract more multi-story buildings to the area.
“A lot of people might say, ‘Well that looks kind of unique and different.’ Well, what I said at the meeting is, somebody’s got to be first,” said Herron.
Sefton Park is another project currently in the works. It will be located less than two miles away from ‘The Venue,’ between Sefton Park Drive and West Catawba Avenue, diagonally across from the CATS Park-and-Ride.
The development plan includes three apartment buildings, containing 344 units, a hotel, a conference center, and 7,800 square feet of commercial space.
“Sefton Park incorporates a lot of urban elements that heretofore were not available,” said Sefton Park developer Michael Johnson.
Though neither project faced much opposition in public hearings, the biggest concern is the traffic impact. The town says both projects correspond with previously scheduled DOT traffic improvement projects, such as traffic light installations and the Torrence Chapel roundabout project.
They also meet necessary parking criteria. Sefton Park in particular plans to include 1,500 parking spaces in a secure parking deck. Sefton Park developers have also agreed to make some road improvements of their own, like adding and extending turn lanes.
“We do have some mitigation that we will have to do, and will gladly do, to participate in the community. We don’t want to create a problem,” said Johnson.
Town Board has already voted on and unanimously approved, The Venue project. Now, the county needs to approve building permits, and then developers can begin construction.
The Planning Board unanimously approved the Sefton Park project on Aug. 9. It will go before Town Board for a vote in September. Developers hope to have the build-out complete by 2024.