Developer plans ‘Crystal Lagoon’ in Huntersville

Photo: Crystal Lagoons

Oct. 19. By Dave Yochum. Developer Jake Palillo has a total of 270 acres of farmland on Hwy. 73 in Huntersville under contract with tentative plans to build a new-wave resort called Crystal Lagoons.

“This is the newest type of development in the country today,” said Palillo, the developer behind Bailey’s Glen in Cornelius and Symphony Park, which is underway in Huntersville.

The new, as-yet-unnamed project would include commercial, retail and residential components between Hwy. 115 and Mayes Road near Westmoreland Road.


Jake Palillo also owns South Creek Construction

Crystal Lagoons is a Miami-based multinational company that has developed a state-of-the-art technology allowing crystalline lagoons to be built and maintained at very low costs anywhere in the world.

Crystal Lagoons has some 2,000 patents in 190 countries. The environmentally friendly technology uses considerably less chemicals than conventional swimming pool filtration systems. They can use sea, fresh, and even brackish water, which is abundant and has no other use.

“Disney is developing a Crystal Lagoon in Arizona and we want to Huntersville to be the first in North Carolina,” Palillo said.

He did not disclose the expected purchase price for the farm property along Hwy. 73. At 270 acres, it is more than five times larger than Birkdale Village.

New technology

Crystal Lagoons technology can create lagoons of any size in an environmentally sustainable way, while recreating a Caribbean-style environment with clear waters, white sand, and water sports—all open for visitors through an entrance fee. Projects often feature hotels, multifamily residences, retail, restaurants and venues for weddings, conferences and concerts.


Plans for rezoning are in the design phase now, Palillo said. He hopes to start the process with the Town within the next 30 to 60 days.


46 Responses to “Developer plans ‘Crystal Lagoon’ in Huntersville”

  1. Where is this located on 73?

    Posted by James | October 19, 2022, 1:11 pm
  2. Absolutely horrible!! I can’t believe what Huntersville is allowing along 73. This area is doomed.

    Posted by TB | October 19, 2022, 1:19 pm
    • I agree! I live on 73 and traffic is already horrible! This guy is a greedy, pushy, arrogant individual. Figures he’s from New York and is like so many other builders who ruin and over-populate states like NY and Florida, and then move on for opportunities to do that same elsewhere. He seems to be in the pockets of our so called representatives here in Huntersville. I’m disgusted. My family moved here to get away from the over-crowded environments, but people like him want to ruin everything.

      Posted by Lorraine | October 24, 2022, 8:13 pm
  3. I love it. Would save money by not requiring expensive flights around the world. It would be like bringing the Bahamas to Huntersville…love, love, love it!

    Posted by Mike | October 19, 2022, 1:29 pm
    • Why, because you don’t like it. How all the other people that may want to enjoy it.. it’s done in Wesley Chaple, Florida.Just outside of Tampa. It’s beautiful

      Posted by DJN | October 19, 2022, 4:09 pm
      • Wesley Chapel has roads!!! We pay the second highest taxes in NC and our kids are in pods, not new schools, and we still have a single road system. Where the hell are all our tax dollars going? Lining politicians pockets, no doubt. Anyone who drives a car and thinks this is a good idea has no common sense.

        Posted by D. Summer | October 23, 2022, 3:26 pm
        • I totally agree with you. The morons on here making comments about what is in Florida & how fun & nice it will be apparently won’t have the quality of their life affected, with this ignorant idea at their doorstep. Move to Florida or some tropical country if you want that environment.

          Posted by Lorraine | April 22, 2023, 7:29 pm
  4. Give me a break! He needs to take his $$$$ and spend it where there is not already so much overdevelopment!!!

    Posted by Sally Rock | October 19, 2022, 1:49 pm
  5. What a horrible location for a huge commercial project like that.

    Posted by Janet | October 19, 2022, 3:56 pm
  6. ## Comment SPAM Protection: Shield Security marked this comment as “SPAM”. Reason: Human SPAM filter found “iphone1” in “user_agent” ##
    How about a 4 lane road as part of the requirements!!! We can’t get around as it is! Infrastructure, or you will end up with all the folks leaving!!!

    Posted by E Lord | October 19, 2022, 7:23 pm
  7. Excellent idea

    Posted by Larry Velander | October 20, 2022, 4:40 am
  8. The beach is only 3 hours away. This area is not supposed to be a sandy resort. It’s supposed to be heavily wooded and not full of commercial garbage.

    Posted by TP | October 20, 2022, 8:25 am
  9. Love this!! People keep joking about flooding 277 so Charlotte can have a water feature like many cities (I know they are joking) But real potential to get something like this closer to Uptown and have it look gorgeous.

    Posted by BW | October 20, 2022, 9:28 am
  10. Renaissance fair with water. Traffic will be a joy

    Posted by SS | October 20, 2022, 10:04 am
  11. Wow. Jake, This is amazing. But…some ideas to consider are….instead fo a tropical theme resort that seems out of place here….could the theme be converted to a NC mountain woodland theme? Pine trees, boulders, waterfalls, like a place you’d find off the Blue Ridge Parkway. Kind of like Wilderness Lodge at DisneyWorld and still be very upscale and resortlike. Also, maybe not so close to Huntersville which has horrible traffic issues, and more east near Cabarrus County or Iredell County like in Troutman. This will be a “destination” development and so extremely close proximity to the city is not quite as important.

    Posted by Myles Long | October 20, 2022, 10:23 am
  12. So if you thought getting off at exit 25 was packed now just open this before hwy73 is actually a highway.And I really didn’t think that living in Birkdale would one day be in the middle of high rises, highways and theme parks.

    Posted by MR | October 21, 2022, 1:18 am
  13. The powers that be will again sell their souls to another developer who will bulldoze the trees, remove all the top soil, level the topography, build their project and leave the infrastructure mess for us. Most of the people making these decisions live on the east side of Huntersville, so they don’t care what happens on the west side.

    Posted by Kim Bradford | October 21, 2022, 8:18 am
    • Oh Cut it out. You have a old mind-set. Huntersville has changed, is changing and will continue to change. So build you a private fence and enjoy your own personal solitude. East side vs west has nothing to do with growth. You just stuck in your head!! I bet if it was a golf course you would be all in. Well buddy hopefully these negative comments don’t matter. I’m ready for a resort! More money for Huntersville.

      Posted by T | October 23, 2022, 3:42 am
  14. I’m not sure why the planning board doesn’t first understands infrastructure impact before approving any development. HWY 73 is a main East West artery that should be a priority to be expanded prior to any large impact development projects. I’ve heard. And not sure if true regarding expanding HWY 73 west from Catawba to Denver. Maybe they should also consider expanding it to I85. Theme park great idea, going no way sorry too much traffic. Developers should maybe think about that.

    Posted by Charles C | October 21, 2022, 10:25 am
  15. How do I share this article

    Posted by Joanne | October 21, 2022, 11:28 am
  16. This is a terrible idea for Huntersville!!! First of all, we have Lake Norman. Second, the traffic in Huntersville is already horrendous! Third, let the trees be! Too much concrete in Huntersville already! I don’t know how these things get approved. Just like the approval for a 4th alcohol venue off of 115 literally within 1.25 miles of each ither— Primal Brewery, In the Wind, Crafty Beer Guys, and whatever the name is of the new alcohol venue being built on Gilead Road across from Discovery Place. Plus, the approval for 7-Eleven on 115 when the BP and Cashion’s are literally just yards away! Whoever is making these decisions for Huntersville is doing an absolutely terrible job!!!

    Posted by JM | October 21, 2022, 2:20 pm
    • This town could use more “alcohol venues” whatever that means.

      Gas stations too, Exit 25 literally only has the Exxon heading east and that requires going into Northcross shopping area which then is a nightmare trying to go east again. Need a gas station near 115/73 intersection.

      Posted by The Truth | October 21, 2022, 4:40 pm
  17. I would much rather have these 270 acres developed into this project than more apartments and neighborhoods. Huge increase in tax revenue and less impact on the school district. I am certain 73 will expand to four lanes all the way to Davidson-Concord Road. 115 will also need improvements.

    For those talking of Lake Norman it is pretty limited access for those not on the water or owning a boat plus I would much rather get in the water at this place than in Lake Norman.

    Posted by The Truth | October 21, 2022, 4:35 pm
    • Lake Norman is very clean compared to most other man made lakes in the country. But your point is well taken, public access to Lake Norman is very limited compared to most lakes. You have to own land or a decent size boat to be able to enjoy the lake.

      Posted by SM | October 21, 2022, 8:33 pm
    • The article states the following, “Projects often feature hotels, MULTI-FAMILY RESIDENCES, retail, restaurants and venues for weddings, conferences and concerts. This area of Huntersville would no longer be a quiet, quaint place to live. We will have noise and an abundance of traffic up our backsides. All for the sake of the all mighty dollar. Very sad times to live in.

      Posted by Lorraine | October 24, 2022, 8:38 pm
  18. I like the idea. Lake Norman has very limited beach access. However Jake,how do you expect to complete this when there are so many people in Baileys Glen Forest that have warranty issues that you have no capacity to address? Literally warranty punch lists that have been ignored for over a year with no action or communication from your staff. Please finish what you start before adding to your workload.

    Posted by Forest Owner | October 21, 2022, 10:31 pm
  19. Oh my god the Karen’s are losing their minds!! Lmao

    Posted by Matt | October 22, 2022, 9:15 am
  20. To all my good neighbors in the Forest at Baileys Glen, don’t worry about this new development by Jake Palillo. If this development progresses like the Forest we will have all met our Maker before it affects us.
    The staff at the Forest are great but they are overworked. If only Jake would hire more qualified people I’m sure most of the problems would go away.

    Posted by Jerry Horine | October 22, 2022, 9:58 am
  21. Do it! Do it! Please DOO IT!!This is just what Huntersville need!! The kids would enjoy this and local families can save money by not traveling to the beaches. People are not ready to evolve. They want mountains and farmland to keep segregated.They are so prejudice to growth. Don’t worry about them build the Dang resort. They can find more woods it’s plenty around😅

    Posted by T | October 23, 2022, 3:44 am
    • Hey Cletus … look at the facts. This intersection is bad now and will be unmanageable. Think RenFest traffic year round. Take your dollars to the waterpark at Carowinds. Let the lake area maintain some peace and quiet … what’s left of it

      Posted by jay | October 26, 2022, 3:15 pm
  22. Traffic,traffic. People living along 73,between 115 and Davidson,Concord rd.cant get out on 73 now…..

    It’s not the builder,ITS THE STATE,DOT,COMMISONERS,sittings on the issue for years. Maybe,they should wake up to the congestion in the area. !!!

    Posted by CD | October 23, 2022, 7:53 am
  23. There should be a moratorium on any building in Huntersville/Cornelius until our roads – all of them – are expanded. The little expansion that is planned is too little, too late and will not make any difference when complete. In the meantime, the traffic, which is already a huge problem, will only get worse due to the construction. I would like to know where all of our tax dollars are being spent. Our kids are going to class in pods not new schools, the roads are pathetically inadequate, and no common sense decisions are being made. This is the worst run place I’ve ever lived in.

    Posted by Donna Winter | October 23, 2022, 3:36 pm
  24. Would you rather see this 270 acres built out in houses, townhomes, and apartments. Would easily accommodate 1,200 new units generating about 300 new kids in the school. This will generate huge taxes and NO new demand on the school system, comparatively little on the water and sewer system, fire or police protection , and less traffic.
    Bring it

    Posted by Dan | October 23, 2022, 4:08 pm
    • Amen. Believe this was originally going to be something like 160-200 $800k+ houses built in the ram & cram style with lot sizes from .15-.25 acres if you can believe that! I’ll take this project all day long as long as they double up the lanes on 73 & 115. Further out 73, they can’t build enough of these junk condos – at prices from the mid 300s if you can believe that. It’s shocking they haven’t added a single lane anywhere in the past decade. People that live here are fed up, and the DOT needs to get it’s act together. They didn’t fund I-77, so WTF is all our tax money going…not to 73…not to 115…and not to 21 – all of which could use 4 lanes! Think 73 was supposed to go 4 lanes in ’21 and got bumped because of COVID…and here we are in almost ’23 and they still haven’t even started marking utilities. The projects should have been started YEARS ago with the thousands of homes & people moving to the area!

      Posted by Jeff | October 24, 2022, 8:53 am
  25. The article states the following, “Projects often feature hotels, MULTI-FAMILY RESIDENCES, retail, restaurants and venues for weddings, conferences and concerts”. This area of Huntersville would no longer be a quiet, quaint place to live. We will have noise and an abundance of traffic up our backsides. All for the sake of the all mighty dollar. Very sad times to live in.

    Posted by Lorraine | October 24, 2022, 8:40 pm
  26. I believe there are limits to any expansion on north south road 115 and 21 due to the agreement with the I77 development. No competing lanes can be built to take away traffic from the toll roads.

    73 can be improved though

    Posted by GG | October 25, 2022, 1:06 pm
  27. As a long-time homeowner and resident of Huntersville, I do NOT support this Crystal Lagoon project! It is a tacky idea that will damage our nice city. Go somewhere else!

    Posted by Bruce Williams | April 7, 2023, 8:37 pm
  28. This will not be a project that will last, IE: Heritage USA, terrible land use project. Huntersville is a City with no Soul, just Neighborhoods & shopping centers. I moved out of the area 15 years ago. Growth in the region is West, Gaston Co. I agree with Miles Long, the Theme needs to fit the location. A Caribbean Themed Park in the Piedmont just will not be a long lasting Project.
    The City of Huntersville has made so many bad decisions regarding Development over the last 25 years. The metro rail line that was promised in 2000, led to over Development & then the I-77 Toll Interstate.
    I think the City needs to put this to a special vote. Make sure it is done well if approved. A Waterpark maybe, but housing and cheaply built condos, homes & apts is a bad idea.
    I now live in Mt. Holly/ Belmont the growth West of the City of Charlotte is rapidly moving West, but the Gaston Co area is looking at the bad Development in Huntersville is a good example of what not to do. I have friends in Huntersville & the traffic is out of control. Good Luck with this proposed project. I just see another Heritage USA, after years of bad management and poor construction, I don’t see a long term lasting land use project like this in that location.

    Posted by T. Cleveland | April 26, 2023, 9:24 am

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