Lake Norman & Mooresville

Developer scales back plans to build near Lake Norman

After dropping plans for a mixed-use development near Lake Norman that would have included a four-story hotel and several dozen town homes, a Mooresville developer is seeking approval for a far smaller project.

The newly proposed development would comprise a little less than 9 acres off Alcove Road, along Interstate 77, and involve a handful of mixed-use buildings. It has the same name as the previous plan, Alcove Commons, and it would entail road improvements at two intersections along that stretch.

Last week, the town’s planning board unanimously recommended a request by the developer, Alcove Langtree Properties LLC, to rezone the land. The site comprises two undeveloped parcels, one zoned for commercial use and the other residential use.

The proposal is scheduled to go before commissioners for approval at a public hearing April 6.

“This is a completely different request” than the previous one, said Craig Culberson, a senior planner for Mooresville and staff liaison to the planning board. He noted that one commercial building already under construction will contain three stories and about 17,800 square feet, with the others totaling about 54,000 square feet.

The original plans by the developer involved a request to rezone more than 35 acres, Culberson said. Anchored by the four-story, 108-room hotel, it included about 60 townhomes and more than 90,000 square feet of commercial and office space, along with green space and sidewalks throughout.

But although that plan complied with the town’s land-use rules, Culberson said, it was scaled back amid concerns by residents in the vicinity that it would significantly increase traffic.

In response, the planning board unanimously recommended last September that commissioners reject the rezoning request.

After postponing a hearing on it a number of times, the developer, Rick Howard, wound up scrapping the hotel and town homes. “We listened to the neighbors,” said Howard, who grew up in and still lives in the area.

The location of the proposed development has not changed; it is planned for the intersection of Alcove Road and Foundation Court, just south of Templeton Road. It is just north of the nearly $1 billion mixed-use development that Howard has been a key player in – Langtree Lake Norman, which includes hundreds of luxury apartments.

To accommodate an anticipated increase in traffic from the Alcove Road development, Howard is required to make improvements along Alcove Road, a narrow two-lane stretch running parallel to I-77 that connects Exits 31 and 33. They include adding turn lanes at its intersections with Langtree and Williamson roads, as well as extending one at its intersection with Foundation Court.

The new proposal does not include building an access road off Templeton Road, which was required under the original one.

The town will issue no occupancy permits until the road work is completed, said Kelsie Anderson, its transportation engineer. She noted that the improvements were based on a traffic study the town approved in December.

Other improvements are also planned along that stretch.

Langtree Charter Academy, a nearby charter school that opened less than two years ago, is expected to begin road work this month around Exit 33, Anderson said. In addition to adding turn lanes, the improvements include adjusting the traffic signals at that intersection. The school also built a right-turn lane at the intersection of Alcove Road and Foundation Court, which the developer is required to extend.

Those improvements were required by commissioners years ago as part of their approval of the school, but they were delayed as a result of the construction of an interchange to the north, at Brawley School Road, Anderson said.

While she noted that the roads where the improvements are planned are generally sufficient to accommodate current traffic flow, the N.C. Department of Transportation has plans for a series of improvement projects in the area as part of a statewide program over the next 10 years.

Among them are widening a section of Williamson Road and building an I-77 overpass that would connect Alcove and Fairview roads. Both projects are years away from beginning.

Jake Flannick is a freelance writer. Have a story for Jake? Email him at jacobflannick@gmail.com.

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