Harris Teeter’s arrival could spur more development in Cornelius

 

CORNELIUS – Town commissioners approved an expansion request that will bring a Harris Teeter to Antiquity, a mixed-used development near downtown.

The board’s vote allows for a 53,000-square-foot Harris Teeter with the option to expand to 61,000 square feet in the future.

In 2007, the board approved space for a 35,000-square-foot grocer, but Antiquity developer Cam Finley said they were unable to get one of the smaller grocers to commit to the location.

“After many years of trying get a grocer in here to anchor this retail development, we went to all the grocers that would fill a 35,000 or less footprint. These grocers tend to want to be out nearer to the interstate and lake,” Finley said. “It’s going to take this anchor in order to spark the rest of the retail growth that we’d all love to see the services for this neighborhood and the rest of Cornelius.”

Finley envisions an Old Mill look for the Harris Teeter, which will face two other commercial buildings.

“We want the shops to look like Main Street, USA,” Finley said.

Commissioner Chuck Travis recused himself from the discussion and vote due to a potential conflict of interest. Travis, an architect, has clients involved with the development. Commissioner Jeff Hare was absent.

The grocer will service at least the 350 families living in Antiquity and the 900 total expected to living at the development within the next three to four years.

The decision pleased Antiquity residents attending the meeting.

“When my wife and I were looking for a place to move to and live, the whole atmosphere that was conveyed to us about what Antiquity was going to offer with its mixed-use, its commercial development, just made us want to move here,” said Mickey Giannaccini, a four-year Antiquity resident and homeowner’s association board member. “Everyday I am approached by residents that want me to convey to anybody that I can, to get this approved so that we can get going with what we have been promised. It's been a long time coming.”

Commissioner Bruce Trimbur, an Antiquity resident, was part of the deciding vote during his first town board meeting. He was appointed to the board on July 8.

“I also moved to Antiquity with the anticipation of it being a commercial area,” Trimbur said. “I am looking forward to being able to walk in an area in Cornelius versus spending the time walking in Davidson. When you have an anchor such as Harris Teeter, I think that will bring in other commercial opportunities.”

Commissioner John Bradford spoke with excitement about the development’s future business implications.

“We’ve seen in the papers that Cornelius is not a business-friendly town,” Bradford said. “This proves that in four months, we went from initial discussions to a real approved and ready-baked idea, which is making a lot of people happy – the residents, the board and everyone. Cornelius is open for business, folks.”