CHINA GROVE – Cornerstone Church is marketing approximately 37 acres of land on NC 152 near I-85 Exit 68 to developers interested in turning the property into a mixed-use shopping center.
Cornerstone Church is located on Webb Road and was once led by Rev. Bill Godair, who died in December. The church is now led by his wife, Pastor Tina Godair, her family, and executive pastors Brandon and Tara Spiker.
The church purchased the property on NC 152 in 2011 for approximately $1.2 million. The land is located between Hope Lane and I-85. After purchasing the land, Godair and Cornerstone developed the vision for a multi-million dollar mixed-use complex called “The Grove”. Plans called for “The Grove” to feature a 60,000 square foot events center, two hotels, and several commercial buildings. The development, planned by Richard Flowe, was to be primarily for commercial use, but would have tax-exempt space for Cornerstone.
“(Godair) wanted to make a lasting impact on Rowan County in the area of the economy by creating jobs for those who want to work and build a better future for themselves,” said Cornerstone Pastor Tina Godair.
Godair presented his conceptualization for “The Grove” before the China Grove City Council in 2015.
Development work was scheduled to begin after the expansion of I-85 from four lanes to eight lanes, as the North Carolina Department of Transportation was using part of the Cornerstone property as a staging area for the widening project. Therefore, some of the land on the property has already been leveled and is “ready to use” for construction.
With the highway widening now complete, Cornerstone Church has a renewed interest in seeing “The Grove” come to fruition. Since the project’s initial announcement, the plan has remained essentially the same and includes an event center, retail space, accommodations, amphitheater, restaurants and more. The church is no longer committed to retaining part of the property for its own uses, but is said to be open to the idea.
Tina said the mixed-use project would be perfect for families and China Grove’s growing population. Cornerstone is willing to be flexible with the development of the property, but would like plans to align with the church’s vision.
“Because we are a community-serving church, we are open to ideas that are presented to us,” Tina said.
The current vision for “The Grove” matches what China Grove executives envision for the property.
“We still think it’s a great idea,” Mayor Charles Seaford said. “I would love to see a hotel there. I would love to see a good restaurant, not your Hardees or McDonalds. A good sit-down restaurant.”
The property is zoned Highway Business, which generally allows restaurants, retail, and recreation. At a recent city council meeting, Councilman Rodney Phillips pointed out that the city does not want to rezone the property and is not interested in light industrial uses such as a warehouse.
The property “The Grove” is listed by commercial real estate broker Colliers International.
As Cornerstone works to determine the future of “The Grove”, the church is also carrying out a major project on its 17 acres on Webb Road. Cornerstone plans to build a sports complex that includes softball and soccer fields, a children’s amphitheater, a cornhole, an 11,000 square foot playground, volleyball courts, a walking track and more. The church is working with Salisbury Mayor Karen Alexander’s KKA architectural practice to bring the sports complex to life.
“It’s for our community,” Tina said. “We’re all about the community. We want to get where every time you come to Cornerstone is a family environment.