Mixed-use project would take another step in Cornelius downtown transformation

Highline Partners plans Mills Market in downtown Cornelius

Nov. 11. By Dave Vieser. A community meeting with the latest details on a planned six-story project for downtown Cornelius will take place on Wednesday Nov. 16  at Cornelius Town Hall.

To be known as Mills Market, the mixed-use project would have as many as 263 residential units as well as 7,300 square feet for commercial uses.

Developer Highline Partners of Charlotte is seeking rezoning for the 2.3 acre site on Catawba Avenue adjacent to the nearly finished Cain Center for the Arts.

Adjacent to the new arts center

The properties are currently occupied by brick buildings facing Catawba Avenue, including the Old Town Public House and the old Doc Washam House. The house apparently makes way for the project, despite having been on the town’s history tour.

Patients entered via the door on the left of the Doc Washam House

As currently envisioned, Mills Market would have commercial on the first floor and residential on the remaining five stories.


The zoning is currently Town Center and Neighborhood Residential.

The proposal would change the zoning to conditional and continue the transformation of downtown Cornelius.

Highline Partners is a development company focused on boutique residential and commercial projects in urban and suburban markets.

Highline is also under contract to develop a mixed-use project at the former Central Branch YMCA site in Gastonia.

This would be Highline’s first project in the Lake Norman area.

Meeting details: Room 204 in Cornelius Town Hall, starting 6 pm Nov. 16 


18 Responses to “Mixed-use project would take another step in Cornelius downtown transformation”

  1. As usual, the town (and all towns around here) want to build something on every single piece of dirt. In just a few short years, there will be no trees left and all we will hear is lots of noise. Not to mention that what the heck will the traffic be like?

    It is a shame that those of us who moved here to get away from large cities, will only end up in a crowded-with-too-much-traffic.

    Posted by DED | November 11, 2022, 12:18 pm
    • I agree. The Town keeps approving all of this new development without also requiring these mega wealthy developers to help re-developing some of the roads around here. These crappy two lane roads stay the same, but more and more development is added each year!

      It’s just more and more congestion, higher densities, and it’s like living in a major metropolitan/big city area, even though it’s not!

      Posted by Tony Assino | November 11, 2022, 1:30 pm
  2. It will be interesting to see what our new commissioner group does with this. They hopefully will remember what got them into office.

    Posted by Chris Vasiloff | November 11, 2022, 1:00 pm
  3. Six stories? Taking down historic buildings. Sounds horrible. So much for this being a quaint town on Lake
    Norman. If we continue down this path all the charm of the historic downtown will be lost.

    Posted by Elizabeth Allyn | November 11, 2022, 2:35 pm
  4. Most of the town I grew up in is already gone. My heart breaks every time I come to town. Please don’t do this.

    Posted by Rosie S. Chapman | November 11, 2022, 2:52 pm
  5. In 2013, the voters in Cornelius approved $4 million for downtown redevelopment and other improvements. Those funds helped launch the Cain Arts Center as a focal point and generator of complementary projects. This special facility is about to open in less than 60 days. While the Cain Arts Center will impress, it needs the support of restaurants, entertainment, retail and parking to ensure success. Let’s work together to screen in high quality private investment to make our ‘old town’ the amenity everyone can visit and enjoy for years to come.

    Posted by CD Gray | November 11, 2022, 5:31 pm
  6. This will be a great addition for Cornelius.

    Posted by Ken Foster | November 11, 2022, 9:44 pm
  7. This is a terrible idea. It ruins the small town feel of the downtown area. The traffic on the surrounding roads is already overly congested. This would make it completely out of control. This is wrong for this community. We can bring in restaurants and shops without overdeveloping and despoiling the area.

    Posted by Janelle Hedges | November 12, 2022, 11:26 am
  8. Basically turning a quaint old village into a small city. The Cain Performing Arts Center is already an eyesore. It’s too out of place. Too big for the area it occupies. Too close to the street. Too modern for the rest of the area. And, the LED marquee is atrocious. They’re turning Cornelius into a mini Times Square. Who thought this was a good idea? And, the nightmare traffic situation will only get worse. And what about parking? Are we going to put up parking garage? Catawba Ave will be the next Rt 150. The Cain Center should have been outside of the village. This is about as beneficial as the restricted toll lanes on I77. I have to question the decisions being made in this area.

    Posted by Marc Stevens | November 12, 2022, 11:56 am
  9. Can our town representatives not do the math? 263 units could equal 526 more automobile’s downtown on our small two lane road in and out of town. I’ve lived here all my life. Loved it more before greed came along. I still think the Cain ctr.a joke.

    Posted by Mack Robinette | November 12, 2022, 4:39 pm
  10. Between the development already underway at Westmoreland and this the town will further tighten the noose on traffic for all who live in between the two, and congest it for those who live just beyond. Show up at the meeting if you can to express your concerns.

    Posted by Kevin Roof | November 13, 2022, 7:36 am
  11. What is with the black/grey brick.Honestly it doesn’t fit. The Arts Center is not pretty. This project looks to be the same. I’m not sure how 300+ cars from residents and cars from people working and patronizing the retail will impact traffic.I think it will be a disaster. IMHO!

    Posted by Chris Conroy | November 13, 2022, 5:15 pm
  12. Come to Mooresville and checkout the newest apartment additions to Highway 150 and imagine the horrific traffic conditions this will create. Don’t be like Mooresville creating multi unit apartments without dealing with infrastructure first. It’s as dumb as it gets to do things backwards like our political Mooresville geniuses are doing.

    Posted by R Suarez | November 13, 2022, 6:38 pm
  13. Another 525 vehicles for the new apartment residents plus 300 additional cars visiting the shops,restaurants etc sounds like a total nightmare of a traffic jam. PLEASE put in a four lane highway or at least widen and repair the existing road before you get suckered into something that you can never get out of.

    Posted by Robert Rees | November 14, 2022, 3:10 pm
    • I’m with you 100% Robert, but where’s the 4 lane going to go? Catawba Ave on that side has no room to widen. 115 going south could be widened to 73. But you see how long Mooresville has been/will be waiting for 150 widening. The west side of Catawba likely won’t be widened any time soon either. And yet development goes on.

      Posted by Chris Conroy | November 14, 2022, 3:32 pm
  14. I wish there was a way we could stop this. We will not be able to handle the traffic that will come with this project. Cornelius is such a wonderful town as it is. Please don’t destroy our historical downtown with this ugly monstrosity. Is there a petition anywhere out there to oppose this project?

    Posted by Lindsay Robbins | November 28, 2022, 8:59 am
  15. I’m glad our new town board listens to its constituents

    Posted by James S | November 28, 2022, 9:40 am
  16. Why 6 storie$?
    Very ambitiou$ project!

    Posted by Juls Rique | March 2, 2023, 12:09 am

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