Burlington’s planning and zoning commission gave a unanimous thumbs up to a developer’s proposal to rezone a famous, historic mill building into 90 apartments.
The Aurora Cotton Mills, built in 1906 and more recently operated as Pickett Hosiery, would be transformed into 61 one-bedroom/one bath apartments and 29 two-bedroom/two bath apartments.
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The development company – Clachan Properties, headed by Herb Coleman and Hugh Shytle – has already converted another downtown mill, May Hosiery, into 67 apartments.
Coleman and Shytle were on hand Monday night to describe the program to the city’s planning board, as was Ryan Moffitt, a Burlington attorney representing the developers.
The mill takes up most of the 2.7 acres in a block surrounded by Webb Avenue, and East Davis, Everett, and Johnson streets.
Coleman explained that one-bedroom apartments are preferred by renters looking at their properties by a four- or five-to-one margin.
In response to a question from the planning board, the developers suggested that the “market rate” for the apartments would be in the range of $900-$1,000 per month for one-bedroom units and $1,500 for two-bedroom units.
Coleman and Shytle suggested that the mill conversion would take about 18 to 20 months to complete after it is begun. The developers do not yet have financing approved to begin the project, they told the planning board.
Coleman said that the Aurora Cotton Mills building is “one of the most unique” mill buildings that the development company has undertaken and has “tremendous character.”
The developers described a swimming pool, lounge area, clubhouse, and other amenities that would be clustered in a courtyard surrounded by the existing mill building. Other amenities will also include a fitness center, yard games area, grilling garden with fire pits, a picnic area with plants, and a dog park with seating.
There would be 98 on-site parking spaces, and the company would re-stripe street parking spaces on two sides of the building – on Everett and Johnson streets.
Coleman and Shytle noted that while many of the original windows are “bricked up,” they believe that the original, single-pane windows still exist between the brick exterior and interior walls around the original windows.
Federal preservation standards of the National Park Service require them to preserve and refurbish the single-pane windows where they exist, the developers explained, despite the fact that more energy-efficient, double-pane windows would otherwise be used.
The apartments will utilize solar panels, Energy Star-certified central air conditioning, tankless hot water systems, and provide an on-site recycling station.
The planning board voted unanimously, 5-0, in favor of rezoning the property from heavy industrial and general business use to a planned development business zoning designation.
Voting in favor were board chairman Richard Parker, and planning board members Charlie Beasley, Lee Roane, Joan Zec Nelson, and Ethan Raynor. Board members James Kirkpatrick and John Black were absent.
The city’s historic properties commission has also considered the request and also granted its unanimous endorsement.
Both advisory commissions also recommended an historic landmark designation for the building almost two years ago, which the city council adopted.
See earlier stories on historic landmark designation, and Pickett Hosiery’s move from the historic building:
Planning board action (includes May Hosiery project comparisons): https://alamancenews.com/planning-board-oks-landmark-designation-as-precursor-to-mills-conversion-to-apts/
City council action (includes May Hosiery project comparisons): https://alamancenews.com/council-confirms-hosiery-mills-historic-status-ahead-of-its-proposed-conversion-to-new-use/
Pickett to remain in Burlington, but move elsewhere in city: https://alamancenews.com/another-textile-company-is-moving-but-this-one-is-staying-in-burlington/