Featured Project: Lillian Mill
An excellent example of the role that the office of Community and Economic Development can play in bringing economic prosperity to your community is the redevelopment of the Five Points District in Albemarle. In 2005, The City of Albemarle began exploring ways to breathe new life into its downtown center.
At the heart of the Five Points District is the Lillian Mill Building. This historic building, which was built in 1901 and had been abandoned for several decades, was in danger of being demolished prior to being purchased by a group of concerned citizens, known as the Lillian Mill Group, in 2001. Thanks to the Lillian Mill Group, the City of Albemarle's interest, and the support of office of Community and Economic Development, this historic structure will survive into the next century.
Our role in the redevelopment was multi-faceted. Through private and public partnerships, we coordinated meetings with the City and the Lillian Mill Group to discuss their needs and goals, which we determined to be historic preservation as well as downtown revitalization. We conducted a study of the area, prepared a redevelopment plan, and assisted with project financing by securing State and Federal grants and loans. Because historic preservation was one of the goals of the project, the original window design was restored using century-old wood. Wherever possible, we used local resources, contractors and tradespeople to ensure that the Lillian Mill project re-invested as much into the surrounding community as possible.
Rehabilitation was completed in May of 2008.The building's anchor tenant is Monarch, Inc., a large non-profit organization dedicated to providing support services for the disabled community, , Monarch Inc. currently leases the first floor, bringing 40 new jobs to the area. The second floor is commercial space and the third floors are condominiums; both floors are ready for leasing.
The benefits of this restoration to the City of Albemarle are tremendous:
- Before the renovation, the tax value of the Lillian Mill property was $168,426; the most recent appraisal of the post-renovation market value is $4,540,000.
- Because the Lillian Mill project is at the heart of the Five Points District, its restoration has inspired further investment in this area of Albemarle. A new restaurant and an art gallery have opened recently in the neighborhood, bringing to the area a combined investment of over 1 million dollars.
- The project will increase the tax base by over 5 million dollars.
- Sidewalks and underground utilities are emerging in a historic neighborhood that had been falling into disuse and disrepair.
- The Lillian Mill, redevelopment project has helped spur economic activity in the Five Points area. People will soon dine, shop, and live in this historic community.