News Column

Graham to consider rezoning industrial building for apartments

June 29, 2014

By Jay Ashley, Times-News, Burlington, N.C.



June 29--GRAHAM -- A property that was added to the National Register of Historic Sites earlier this month will be considered for rezoning by Graham'sCity Council Tuesday to join a sister historic site for a multifamily housing project.

The council will hear a request to rezone property at 220 W. Harden St. from light industrial to multifamily designation.

The property is currently occupied by a vacant industrial building known as the Scott-Mebane Manufacturing Co. Complex. Third Wave Housing of Winston-Salem is making the request for rezoning to convert the vacant building into 24 loft apartments and add parking.

This project is across the street from another Third Wave project that was approved for similar rezoning last September for a 127-unit rental project at the historic Oneida Cotton Mills site. That property, at 219 W. Harden St., is a 6.8-acre plot surrounded by a variety of other residential, business and office-institutional zoning. It received National Register of Historic Places designation June 9 along with the Scott-Mebane site.

According to the National Register of Historic Places website, the properties were selected as "important example(s) of textile mill construction": "The mill, constructed in 1882 by Sidney Scott and W. Calvin Donnell, was the first cotton mill in Graham. In 1887, Lynn Banks Holt purchased the mill, renamed it Oneida Cotton Mills, and expanded it. Around 1900, Holt built Scott-Mebane Manufacturing Company across the street. The complex includes a total of eight buildings and structures, five of which are considered contributing in the nomination."

The buildings have not operated as such for at least 15 years. The land is currently owned by Jay Burke Rentals.

There were questions back in September of the Oneida Mills project fitting zoning and development rules regarding setbacks and proximity of buildings, which prompted Councilman Lee Kimrey to vote against the rezoning, even though he admitted he wished he could find a way to support it.

At the time, City Planner Melissa Guilbeau explained that although the building would be a non-conforming structure, it would not prohibit use of the building since the developer will use the existing structure, with no new buildings planned.

Speaking at the time for Third Wave, Richard Angino said he had 20 years experience adapting old and historical buildings to modern use. He said his company had removed some of the faÇade along Harden Street and found the original material to be in good shape, along with original windows and trim. He called it a "remnant of history" deserving of being reused.

Initial plans call for the exterior faÇade to be refurbished to the 1910 era. There will be 91 one-bedroom apartments with 660 to 740 square feet, and the remainder as two-bedroom units of 900 to 1,000 square feet, and all loft apartments with 14-foot ceilings. Estimated rents would be $500 to $750 per month, according to size.

In the last year's meeting, Angino said there had been initial environmental assessments and there would be more. He estimated the project would represent an $11 million-to-$13 million investment on property valued on the tax books now at about $700,000. With rezoning approval now granted, he said he would will begin pursuing financing and that people should see construction activity by next fall.

Angino was not available for comment, but in an email to Mayor Jerry Peterman, city manager Frankie Maness, and Guilbeau, he acknowledged the selection of the properties to the historic register "after a year and a half of work. That is a huge relief."

He added that he had been in town recently with "several equity investors" and that "they were very impressed by the city of Graham."

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(c)2014 Times-News (Burlington, N.C.)

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Source: Times-News (Burlington, NC)


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