Its dark, mint-green paint is peeling off of wood pillars, there’s some pantyhose on the floor and one room smells like crayons. But, if all goes as planned, by this time next year these more than 100-year-old mill buildings at the corner of 16th Street and Parkwood Avenue will be transformed into a complex full of offices, restaurants, stores and a huge food hall.
Executives with White Point Paces Partners led a small group of media folks around the historic mill buildings Thursday, explaining their plan and vision for what will become Tompkins Hall, named after D.A. Tompkins, who built the mill and others like it in Charlotte.
They pointed out all of the historic aspects that they hope will add character to the historic space, like the small pieces of metal from old machinery lodged in the floor, the exposed brick, dark cherry and walnut hardwood floors and the beams lining the 14-to-18-foot ceilings in many areas of the building.
The buildings are in “unbelievable shape,” said Erik Johnson with White Point Partners, especially considering the oldest part of the mill dates back to 1891, with other parts being added in 1895 and 1912.
Here’s a look at the floor plan. To orient yourself, 16th is at the top of this image and Parkwood is to the right.
(1) There will be 83,005 square feet of open office space, the largest chunk of the complex.
(2) The “food hall” will be 20,229 square feet, with room for about 15-20 stalls. (This is the room that smells like crayons because of all the cottonseed oil the floor had soaked up over the years.)
(3) There will be 31,514 square feet of restaurant and retail space in a part of the complex near the light rail, with plans for an outdoor terrace that would look toward the light rail and uptown.
(4) You’ve got transportation options. In addition to more than 600 parking spots, the complex will be right on the light rail extension, a rail trail will also pass by it and it won’t be far from the planned Cross Charlotte Trail.
(5) The developers will tear down one of the newer buildings — basically a connector between what will become the food hall and the restaurant/retail space — to create a courtyard near Brevard Street.
(6) The courtyard and other outdoor areas should have a great view of uptown. The photo below was taken from the roof of the mill.
(7) Construction is expected to start around April of next year, with plans to complete construction late 2018.
(8) The developers want to get the mill on the National Register of Historic Places, which means there’s only so much work they can do on the building. It’s mostly cleaning up, knocking down a few walls and a building, and un-bricking some windows to bring a ton of natural light back into the space, and doing repairs to existing walls and roofs.
(9) White Point Paces Partners is also pushing to call this part of town — stretching from Optimist Park to NoDa, and over to Belmont and Villa Heights — Mill District, paying homage to the area’s mill history and as a way to unite the business districts in the separate neighborhoods along the North Davidson corridor.
(10) If you want to get a peek inside, Brandshop will be holding its pop-up shop in the old mill from Dec. 9-15.
Photos: Corey Inscoe