Owner of Augustalee property is ‘totally against’ I-77 toll plan


By Dave Yochum. Even as people like Charlotte Mayor Dan Clodfelter are expressing concerns about the current plan to toll I-77 between Lake Norman and Charlotte, one of the big landowners along I-77 says he’s opposed, too.

Robert Stevanovski, co-founder and chairman of Concord-based ACN, is one of the owners, along with other ACN executives, of the 110-acre Augustalee property that faces I-77 between Exit 25 and Exit 28.

Augusta Lee Capital Partners paid $7.3 million for the property in 2012 after Fifth Third Bank took it back from Bromont Investments, based in Scottsdale, Ariz. Bromont paid $34 million for the property.

The land would likely benefit from improvements to I-77. Bromont had planned a new interchange at Westmoreland Road, at the northern end of the Augustalee property, but it’s not part of current plans to improve I-77.

Stevanovski was adamant about his opposition to the I-77 toll plan, a Public Private Partnership between Cintra, which is a unit of a Spanish company called Ferrovial, and the NCDOT.

“I am totally against it; it is very unfair to our citizens to have to pay extra to get where they want to go,” Stevanovski said.

“We have been paying into a system—taxes—and we should benefit for it,” he added.

Gov. Pat McCrory has proposed a $3 billion bond referendum that would include hundreds of millions of dollars of highway improvements, but not a penny for I-77 between Lake Norman and Charlotte.

“There is no reason why we cannot be part of the new Bond Infrastructure being proposed.  I think it will also hurt development of our area if anyone has to pay extra to come and go,” Stevanovski said.

His vision, like Bromont’s owner, horseman Walt Rector, is to build a Ballantyne-like mixed-use development, with Class A office space for “corporate relocation, some retail and some residential.”

At this time, there has been no decision to put any of the ACN-related companies on the site.

ACN is a multi-level marketing company that provides telecommunications, television, energy and other services, depending on the country, through a network of independent sales agents known as “Independent Business Owners” (IBOs), who themselves recruit new people as service providers or to become their own IBO.

There are no immediate plans to sell the property, which was actively farmed until a decade ago.

“We intend to hold the property for now, but eventually we will either sell it or develop it,” Stevanovski said.

He’s unaware of any plans at NCDOT to add a Westmoreland exit from I-77.

“To my knowledge, there is no plan of any exit. I think the town of Cornelius is pushing to try to get it, because they feel it will open up a lot of development in that area and benefit the city in the way of tax revenue,” he said.


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