Friday, December 21, 2007

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Village At Lake Norman Developers Clarify Infrastructure Funding, Address Community Feedback

Village At Lake Norman Developers Clarify
Infrastructure Funding, Address Community Feedback

CORNELIUS, NC – Developers of The Village At Lake Norman, a new
mixed-use center to be built in southern Cornelius, N.C., have
clarified plans for infrastructure financing and addressed community
feedback, in anticipation of a workshop at 6 p.m. Monday with the Town
of Cornelius planning board.
"Feedback we have received through our website,, has been generally very positive and
supportive, but we've also seen a need to clarify our plans for tax
financing and other details," said Josh Rector, project manager for the
developer, Cornelius Bromont, LLC, of Scottsdale, Ariz., and
Huntersville, N.C.
"We are working with the Town of Cornelius, Mecklenburg County, and
other officials on an agreement which would allow us to use a portion
of the property taxes generated only by The Village At Lake Norman – no
other properties would be involved – to pay for costs of the major
transportation improvements that we propose to build in the near
future," Rector explained. "Some people have the mistaken idea that we
would ask the Town to increase property taxes on all residents, which
is totally incorrect. This will not increase any citizen's property
taxes but greatly enhance everyone's quality of life with better roads
improved very soon and not in 2020, 2030 or later."
"Our planned transportation improvements, which will benefit everyone
in the area, include:
• Widening I-77 from two lanes in each direction to three, from south
of Exit 23 in Huntersville, all the way to Exit 28 in Cornelius,
reducing congestion and aggravation, saving time and gas
• A new Exit 27 at I-77 and Westmoreland Road allowing direct access to
the community and the Village At Lake Norman
• A new fly-over bridge, extending New Bailey Road through the Village
At Lake Norman and over the interstate, improving the ability of
residents to cross I-77
• Widening of US 21/Statesville Road to 5 lanes with a landscaped
divided median – turn lane combination for improved traffic flow
• Improvements on Westmoreland Road to enhance east - west flow
• Adding turn lanes and signal improvements in numerous locations."
"All planned road improvements are contingent upon approvals of the
Village At Lake Norman by officials at town, county, region, state and
federal levels. And without approval of the Village, there are no
plans or funds currently available to widen I-77," Rector said.
"We estimate the proposed transportation improvements will cost in
excess of $56 million," he continued. "We are working on agreements
such as a Certificate of Participation (COP) which would allow the
funding to cover transportation improvement costs during the two-year
construction period, roughly 2010-2012, then partial repayment using
new property taxes generated by our project alone over a 20-year
Another subject which has generated some feedback through the website
concerns the retail tenant mix, Rector added.
"It is true that we have spoken to both Target and Best Buy. However
we have not executed any lease agreements," he said. "Large retailers
such as Best Buy and Super Target are needed to draw consumers to the
project, benefiting the smaller shops and providing everyday services.
The mix of retailers selected for this project will indeed be of the
quality like those you find at SouthPark in Charlotte.
"When discussing the Charlotte market with retailers, they feel this
project is perfectly spaced from SouthPark such that many of the same
quality retailers will be attracted to our project. But most
importantly we know from our over 30 years of retail development and
management experience that small shops do not draw enough customers to
support a major project on their own without the support of nationally
recognized retailers, who tend to advertise much more.
"You'll find a very nice Target and Home Depot in central Charlotte
next to the new Metropolitan development (the former Charlottetown Mall
location) and many other high-end mixed-use developments nationwide for
this very reason," he noted.
"The anchor retailers will be dispersed at the corners of our site,
with the multi-story condominiums over ground-level, high-end retail
shops and restaurants, the luxury hotel and other premiere features in
the center of the project, clustered around the Village Green."
The Cornelius-Bromont development team will present detailed plans,
renderings and information Monday in Cornelius Town Hall. The Planning
Board meeting begins at 6 p.m. but two other cases are on the agenda,
so The Village At Lake Norman workshop will probably not start until
after 7.
For more details or to provide feedback, visit .
(News Contact: Buck Lawrimore, 704-332-4344, Buck @

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Local Author Gives Book's Proceeds Back to Community Non-Profits

Davidson, N.C. - North Carolina native Tony Brown, a successful
businessman and self-described contrarian, couldn't resist engaging in
a friendly "ping-pong" debate with best-selling author Anna Quindlen
after he read her book, A Short Guide to a Happy Life." So that's what
he did – in writing – and he called it A Happy Guide to a Short Life.
Brown produced this little parody book with a philosophical message on
how to get a life, matching his comments to her commentary. Then, he
called the author, shared the book, got permission to publish – and use
her name and book title in his publication. Now the book's available on and the Web site,
But even if the book imitates Quindlen's success, Brown's not going to
profit from the sales. Instead, all the proceeds from book sales –plus
gift and jewelry items created from the book's message – go to worthy
"Although I was inspired by Quindlen's book, I challenge her
reflections on happiness and other themes. We agree that time on earth
is short, so it shouldn't be wasted, but I elaborate on the
significance of work, play, family and friends. I also debate happiness
and address the themes of service, gratitude and love to demonstrate
personal fulfillment, Brown said. He defines his philosophy on life
through three overlapping circles: Work, Family/Friends and Play. He
describes life's goal as making the best use of time in work,
relationships and play, not in happiness. And, he emphasizes his belief
that people should dedicate their existence to being generous in work,
relationships and play.
Donating profits to the Community Foundation of Western Carolina, which
will distribute them to selected non-profits, is Brown's way of
personally demonstrating the importance of generosity in his life. 
"I'm proud of the book. However, I'm most excited about the potential
fund-raising capacity of Happy Guide. We donated 100% of the profits,
which means somewhere between $5 and $15 per book goes to some really
neat non-profit organizations," Brown said.
Brown, who lives in Davidson with his wife and three school-aged
children, grew up working on a small produce farm near Asheville. He
graduated from North Carolina State University and earned his MBA from
Duke University. Most of his career has been in the public healthcare
sector in technology. He's now a principal of the Public Consulting
Group, a large management consulting firm headquartered in Boston with
offices in Charlotte, Asheville and Raleigh.
In addition to loving his family, friends, work and play, Brown's
managed to climb the highest mountains in the United States, fly a
private plane, run the Boston Marathon, ride a bull for eight seconds
and, in 2000, write a children's book, Farmer Lloyd & Grannie's Big
Farm in the Mountains.  And, he can add to that résumé – the person who
wrote a guide to show everyone how to "flip on the happy switch" in
their lives.
The recommended retail price of A Happy Guide to a Short Life is
$14.95. To learn more about its author, book discussions and signing
events, non-profit recipients from the books' sales, as well as the
gift and jewelry items that are created from the book's message and
whose proceeds also go to charity, please visit

Monday, November 26, 2007

Kannapolis Hires Director of Business & Community Affairs

Kannapolis, N.C.—The City of Kannapolis has hired Irene Sacks as its first Director of Business & Community Affairs. Sacks, who will fill the newly created position beginning March 3, comes to Kannapolis from Atlanta where she worked most recently as a Project Manager for Market Street Services, the firm that Kannapolis contracted with to develop the economic impact and SWOT analysis for the NC Research Campus.

As Director of Business & Community Affairs, Sacks will report to the City Manager and spearhead initiatives ranging from economic development, marketing, communications, urban redevelopment, neighborhood improvement, and community education and outreach. As a part of her role with the City, Sacks will also coordinate the activities of the Kannapolis Planning and Community Development and Communications Departments as well as oversee the City's Federal Lobbyist relationship.

"In addition to her professional qualifications, Irene possesses unique life experiences that make her the ideal person for this position," said Kannapolis City Manager Mike Legg. "She has lived in three major urban areas – San Francisco, Atlanta, and Los Angeles – acquiring a unique perspective that will be critical as our city transitions with the development of the NC Research Campus."

Prior to joining the City of Kannapolis, Sacks managed the creation of economic development strategies for communities and regions through her work as a Project Manager for Market Street Services. Projects in the Charlotte region included the Small Business and Entrepreneurial Development Action Plan for Cabarrus & Rowan Counties, the Cabarrus Regional Chamber Strategic Plan, and the Economic Development Strategy for Advantage Carolina. She has also worked on projects for Johnson City, Tennessee and the Piedmont Triad Region.

"The NC Research Campus is a unique opportunity that will transform the Kannapolis community," said Sacks. "I'm very much looking forward to my role in the city and being a part of that positive change."

Prior to joining Market Street Services, Sacks worked for the Economic Development Institute at the Georgia Institute of Technology. She was also co-founder of Gemdrop, Inc., a software firm that created a web-based application to assist clients in administering job applications and hiring tests electronically.

Sacks holds a B.S. in Chemical Engineering from the California Institute of Technology and a Masters in City and Regional Planning from the Georgia Institute of Technology. She and her husband Matthew are expecting their first child in December.

Monday, November 19, 2007 Adds News From Surrounding Counties Adds News From Surrounding Counties

CHARLOTTE, NC –, the website which combines news feeds from all Charlotte area news media on one website, has added frequently updated news feeds from surrounding counties plus original news releases to its expanding coverage. Those counties include Cabarrus, Gaston, Iredell, Lincoln and York.

The site already features practically all Charlotte-based print and broadcast news media, as well as weather forecasts, local webcams, national news highlights, and live Internet TV.

Another new feature is the publishing of original news releases through a news feed generated from Google's Blogger service. These stories are published on,, and also sent to subscribers via email once a night.

"We welcome interesting news and feature stories from any organization or public relations professional in the Charlotte area," said Buck Lawrimore, Charlotte Area News editor. "However we do not wish to duplicate coverage in dBusinessNews, Carolina Newswire, The Charlotte Observer, or the Charlotte Business Journal, which are already featured on our website. We prefer original content or news releases not published elsewhere.

"The more original content we have, the better the chances of having it show up on Google and other search engines, so it's an added benefit for anyone interested in higher search engine rankings or search engine optimization. News releases should be emailed to editor (at), with the title of the story in the subject line."

Most stories on are in the form of news highlights, including a headline and about 20 words of text. Readers can click on the headlines and be taken to the originating media, where they can read the full stories. This way Charlotte Area News actually drives more readers to the originating news media.

Charlotte Area News is produced by Lawrimore Inc., a Charlotte marketing, public relations, and search engine optimization firm. For more information visit or

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Village At Lake Norman Planners Announce 1-77 Widening Plans, New Website

CORNELIUS, NC – A development team working on The Village At Lake
Norman unveiled plans to widen I-77 from two lanes in each direction to
three, from south of Exit 23 in Huntersville to Exit 28 in Cornelius,
in addition to a new Exit 27 interchange at I-77 and Westmoreland Road.
Detailed site plans, renderings and transportation maps for the project
were presented at a meeting with the Town of Cornelius planning board
Monday night (Nov. 12) in the Town Hall.
Funding for the transportation improvements, including widening
US21/Statesville Road to five lanes with a landscaped median and
extensive tree plantings, would come from the developer and from
property taxes generated by the high-end, mixed-use project.
The group also announced a new project website,, which shows key information and renderings of
the planned development, and encourages feedback from the community.
The Village At Lake Norman would be located on 102 acres south of
Westmoreland Road in Cornelius, between I-77 and US 21/Statesville
Road. Cornelius-Bromont, LLC, a partnership including Bromont
Investments of Phoenix and Carlsen Douglas Development of Huntersville,
are planning the development.
Brian Jenest of ColeJenest & Stone, Charlotte land planners, explained
how the project's design reflects "the relaxed lifestyle of the Lake
Norman area, the history of Cornelius, and an emphasis on extensive
landscaping and green spaces."
In addition to the major transportation improvements, several key
benefits of the project were outlined in the presentation:
• "High quality, master-planned development at a far higher level than
existing zoning for the site."
• "Aesthetic design reflecting the Town's vision for a
pedestrian-friendly, mixed use center, and the relaxed Lake Norman area
• "Improving quality of life with retail, residential, recreational,
business and hospitality amenities which do not exist in Cornelius
• "Generating substantial new tax revenues for the Town, County and
State to provide additional municipal services and transportation
• "Creating more than $370 million a year in positive economic impact,
including about 3,000 new jobs and revenues for other local businesses.
Additional information can be found at
(Editors: For more information, contact PR representative Buck
Lawrimore at
704-332-4344, email

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Charlotte Area News Adds Daily Email News Summary

Charlotte Area News has added an email news summary service for its readers. Readers simply subscribe to the newsletter using the form below the navigation bars on the right side of each page, and will automatically receive a daily summary of key Charlotte Area News stories, including original content. Be sure to sign up today to keep informed of Charlotte Area News!

Monday, October 29, 2007 Launches As New Website

CHARLOTTE, NC -, a new website featuring news from all major Charlotte area news media as well as several national sources, has been launched by Lawrimore Communications Inc. of Charlotte.

CharlotteAreaNews।com includes sections on local news, TV news, Charlotte business news, sports, restaurants, top national news stories, extensive weather coverage including live video from AccuWeather, plus Live TV, with streaming video from dozens of news, sports and entertainment channels.

"When you want to catch up on news in a hurry, you often find that individual news and weather websites are slow to load and only contain a limited number of stories," said Buck Lawrimore, president of Lawrimore Communications and editor of " uses RSS (Really Simple Syndication) feeds from more than a dozen sources, and since most of it is text, it loads fast. Users can click on the headline of any news story to go to the source and read the full text." was created out of a desire to have one website that allows checking all current Charlotte area and national news very quickly, Lawrimore said. "People who enjoy keeping their finger on the pulse of breaking news and weather will find fun, fast and valuable."

In addition to news-related feeds from other sources, also has a "Publish Your Own News" feature. Using free blogging resources which include RSS feeds, the website will publish valid news and features from any established organization or public relations professional in the Charlotte area.

"We'd like to provide an outlet for nonprofit organizations, neighborhood groups and others who cannot get their news included by other news media," Lawrimore said. "Anyone wishing to provide content for the website is encouraged to email using contact information found on the site."