Land Secured for Charlotte-Area Mixed-Use Development

Cornelius Bromont L.L.C. has completed the acquisition of 104 acres in Cornelius and the surrounding Mecklenburg County, N.C., that will be the site of the mixed-use Village of Lake Norman. The purchase comes on the heels of action by the Cornelius Town Board last month approving detailed plans for the $516 million development. Those plans for the 104-acre project call for 1.4 million square feet of office, restaurant and retail space, along with two hotels and 400 condominium residences. The project will be built over a six-to-12-year period, depending on demand, and will be located at a new exit to be constructed by the developer at Westmoreland Road and I-77. Construction is slated to begin by the end of 2009. The financing for most of the roadway improvements would come from a combination of a synthetic TIF (tax increment financing) and Mecklenburg County COPS bonds (certificates of participation), based on new property tax revenues generated by the Village of Lake Norman. Details of the financial arrangements have yet to be worked out between the Town of Cornelius, Mecklenburg Count, and the developer, and the roadway improvements also require further approvals by state and federal highway authorities. The site is north of Charlotte, N.C., which has seen rapid growth in recent decades. According to U.S. Census Bureau estimates, the 2006 population was about 630,000, an increase of 46 percent since 1990. The population of the metro Charlotte area is about 1.6 million. The developer has partnered with the Building Union Investment and Local Development (BUILD) Fund of America to provide mezzanine financing for the project, and Fifth Third Bancorp as an additional lender. Cornelius Bromont is a partnership of Bromont Investments of Scottsdale, Ariz., and Carlsen Douglas Development of Huntersville, N.C. The BUILD Fund of America is a commingled real estate fund for pension fund investors.