In August 2012, I wrote a blog post called “Green Light! Go!” which was news about the Loray Mills redevelopment project receiving funding for the project to happen. About once a month, I check the Charlotte Observer and Gaston Gazette for news on the status of the mill and was tickled pink to discover that the project is actually underway. The money is available, plans are made and the kickoff happened on Tuesday, April 9, 2013. Plans include retail space, restaurant space, a textile museum and 190 lofts/apartments.
There were already some changes being made to the building when Ted and I went by there in February 2013. The old guard house in front of the tower entrance had been torn down and just that little bit of work did wonders for the look of the building. We also had snow the day before and some of it still hadn’t melted from the yard, so I finally had some snow pictures of a mill.
This is the front of the mill with the old guard house in front, taken in 2006. Below is the front of the mill now with the guard house torn down.
During the photo shoot back in January 2006, the one place I couldn’t get to see were the front doors of the building itself. I had to brace the camera lens through the chain link fence to photograph the front door.
In the above shot, you can see the sign for the Franklin Mill Development sales office. A developer had tried a year or so before then to redevelop the Loray into loft apartments. Ted and I had gone to see the apartment model and it was gorgeous! Sadly, it didn’t happen. Below, is the front door through the tower entrance without the guard house.
I’m so glad to see this old mill being given a chance to be re-purposed. I’ve been inside this building and though there is a lot of work that needs to be done, a lot of it is structurally sound, right down to the beams. They literally don’t make buildings like this anymore. It’s survived a century and if given a chance, it will last another century beyond this, and will help give a fresh start to the mill village around it. I’ll be visiting the site again to photograph her during the renovations. I can’t wait to see what she’ll look like when they’re done!