HUNTERSVILLE, N.C. (QUEEN CITY NEWS) — The long and winding saga of the Lagoona Bay development has officially come to an end. 

Developer Jake Palillo told Queen City News Wednesday that the project proposed for N.C. 73 in eastern Huntersville is dead, citing financial concerns. It comes two months after significant changes were made to the plan for the rural property owned by the Westmoreland family, including its name, to “Waterside.” 

The Huntersville planning map shows the project’s sprawling outline as “withdrawn.”

Palillo said the Bi-Part Development project does not financially work with a reduced plan to meet the current zoning — Rural and Transitional Residential. The hotel was eliminated and the number of housing units was cut almost in half.

“The financial risk for a project of this size at a time our country is at the beginning of an economic crisis is too great,” he told QCN. “With interest rates for home mortgages at 7.25 to 7.5 (percent) and business loans at 8.5 to 9 percent, it’s crushing everyone. … We need to buckle up because financial analysts (sic) are all predicting a rough 2024.” 

The $800 million development at one point proposed 270 acres of residential units, retail, a hotel/conference center, and a members-only lagoon beach club. It brought hoards of opposition and forced the town board to move a June public hearing to the Huntersville Recreation Center to allow all in attendance. 

Palillo filed a libel lawsuit over social media comments made by two residents. The rezoning process brought up ethics discussions among town commissioners centered around their emails with the developer

On June 27, the town Planning Board voted against recommending the project to the town board. It ended up being Palillo’s last appearance, pushing the project at a public meeting. 

His message to Huntersville neighbors is that they should embrace the town’s growth, and he’s said previously that a project like this one could provide a major retail and recreation attraction beyond Birkdale Village. 

“I think Huntersville is at a point where they need to finally realize they are no longer a small rural community and figure out what they want to be,” he said. “They need to bring in experts and properly plan for the future.” 

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Bi-Part and Palillo were the developers for the Symphony Park independent-living facility just a half-mile west and the Bailey’s Glen 55-plus community in Cornelius.

In late July, Palillo wrote on social media that he was done fighting current zoning issues for a revision that never made it to town staff: “The Crystal Lagoon is comin’ to Huntersville. It’s allowed by right!” 

But it has not and never will.