Bluestream Partners plans unusual subdivision for Cornelius

By: Tony Brown, Staff Writer//October 30, 2012//

Bluestream Partners plans unusual subdivision for Cornelius

By: Tony Brown, Staff Writer//October 30, 2012//

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CORNELIUS — A $10 million residential subdivision that would be the first of its kind in the Cornelius area could be under construction as soon as January.

But first, the developer has to jump through the town’s planning and rezoning hoops.

Bailey Forest, a neighborhood proposed by Cornelius-based developer Bluestream Partners, is seeking to subdivide 63 acres into 22 lots measuring from 2 to 3 1/3 acres each, according to documents filed with the town of Cornelius.

Here’s what makes the project unique to Cornelius: According to Bluestream principal Jacob Palillo, on each lot, buyers could build either a single-family home, apartment or town house or they could build up to four units of one of those types of housing or any combination of them.

No matter what is built, the unit or units that are built on the lot have to have one owner, Palillo said. The units could be owner-occupied, rented out or a combination of the two. But they could not be developed as condominiums with separate owners on the same lot.

Since the land, on Bailey Road extension, is zoned for single-family homes and a density of one home per 5 acres, Bluestream must be awarded a zoning change from the town for the project to move forward.

In another quirk, most of the land is in Mecklenburg County, outside Cornelius town limits, but the town has planning and zoning jurisdiction over the property.

That could change, Palillo said: As part of the deal, Bluestream would be open to the town annexing the development. With a potential buildout value of $10 million, Bailey Forest could be handsome addition to Cornelius’ tax rolls.

Cornelius planning director Karen Floyd did not return calls for comment.

While the subdivision might be a new concept for the Cornelius area, Palillo said the idea is being borrowed from similar neighborhoods in western New York, where he was a developer before moving to the Charlotte area 16 years ago.

Bluestream acquired the property four years ago in a deal that allowed the company to develop Bailey’s Glen, a Cornelius housing community that is described on its website as an “age-restricted, 55 and better active-adult community.”

“They made us extend Bailey Road,” Palillo said, “so we had to buy that land, which cost us $3.5 million, and we’ve been trying to recoup that investment ever since.

“Those were the days when things were good, but then the bottom fell out, and we’re stuck with it.”

One stumbling block has been the town, Palillo said, “which for some strange reason sees that area as rural preservation when, if you look at it, is actually a transit corridor with (North Carolina Highway) 115, Davidson-Concord Road and two future light-rail stops all in the area.”

With two schools and a park in the area, Palillo called the site “an ideal setting for slightly more intense development.”

“You could walk to the schools, the park and a greenway trail,” he said, adding that Bailey Forest would have a rural feeling while also increasing density.

The plan is scheduled to be unveiled at a community meeting Nov. 8 before going in front the town’s planning board Dec. 10 and the town’s Board of Commissioners for final action Jan. 7. Development would start immediately, Palillo said.

Palillo said he was hopeful that town government and the community would back the project. He pointed out that there have been “changes recently in the planning department and on the Board of Commissioners.

“They’re younger and more business-minded,” he said. “They have a real forward vision.”

Tony Brown can be reached at [email protected], (704) 247-2912 or on Twitter at @tonymecktimes.

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