$70M project in downtown Cornelius secures rezoning. Here’s when construction could start.

Highline Partners is planning to begin construction on Mill’s Market in late 2024 or early 2025.

Risden McElroy/Highline Partners

By Collin Huguley – Staff Writer, Charlotte Business Journal

Sep 21, 2023

Nearly 10 months after an initial public hearing, Charlotte-based Highline Partners has secured approvals to develop a $70 million-plus project in downtown Cornelius.

The Cornelius Board of Commissioners approved a rezoning request and development agreement with Highline Partners at its meeting on Sept. 18. The developer, which is led by Mark Miller, sought to rezone a 2.3-acre site at 21300 Catawba Ave. for a project named Mill’s Market. The development calls for up to 238 residential units and 12,000 square feet of commercial space neighboring the Cain Center for the Arts.

The board voted 4-1 to approve the rezoning. Dave Gilroy was the lone commissioner to vote against the request while voicing concerns about density and traffic in the area, where several other projects have been approved. The town’s planning board had recommended approval for the rezoning request at a meeting in August. The first public hearing for the matter was held back in November 2022, when Miller presented initial plans to the commissioners.

“We look forward to looking back on this as a key turning part on our downtown redevelopment here in Cornelius,” Mayor Woody Washam said of the rezoning and development agreement approval this week.

Construction on Mill’s Market is still over a year away, Miller said. The developer plans to work through the design process for the next year, he told the Charlotte Business Journal. Miller is targeting the fourth quarter of 2024 or the first quarter of 2025 to break ground on Mill’s Market. Miller estimated the project would take about two years to fully build out.

The project will include an additional 130 public parking spaces in a deck that will be owned by the town. Highline has also committed to having 10 residential units at “affordable workforce rent levels for a minimum of 20 years,” Miller said.

“We feel that Mill’s Market is a bullseye for the type of projects we like to work on,” Miller said. “Along with the Cain Center for the Arts next door, we hope that Mill’s Market will enhance downtown Cornelius with new restaurants, retail shops, and public open space. We really believe the newly formed downtown arts district in Cornelius is on a path to become one of the more exciting and unique destinations in (the area) north (of) Charlotte.”

Plans for Mill’s Market have changed slightly since the initial November public meeting. At the time, Miller presented plans for up to 263 apartments and 7,300 square feet of ground-floor commercial space. Highline added more commercial space at the request of commissioners and has also lowered the proposed building height.

Highline’s project team for Mill’s Market includes Axiom Architects as the architect and Bolton & Menk as the civil engineer.

Click here to view or download the official press release