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Loft apartments possible for Grey Mill

The 99-year-old Grey Hosiery Mill may not make it to its 100th birthday but the ground under it could be the site of loft apartments.


The Hendersonville City Council is expected to take up the status of the historic stocking factory on Thursday. Two council members said they're ready to give Hendersonville developer Jim Hall a shot at an apartment development he first pitched in 2010 and resurrected last year.
"I think it's going to go to Jim Hall's group," Councilman Jeff Miller said.
Hall's proposal for loft apartments and a brewery, code named Bravo 4, were the remaining prospects for the property. The brewery, however, needed more property and was being recruited as well by Tennessee and Charlotte.
"They were supposed to give us an answer," said Councilman Steve Caraker. "From what I gather they have basically moved on."
Hall and Hendersonville native Austin Fazio partnered with the White Challis Redevelopment Co. of Daytona Beach, Fla., to propose 30 loft apartments for the historic mill. Hall said he did not want to comment about the plans before the City Council acts. The financial outlook for redevelopment of historic properties has dimmed because the state Legislature repealed tax credits that made old-mill projects feasible.
"The last time I talked to Hall he said it was still doable," Caraker said.
The city published a legal notice two weeks ago announcing the intent to redevelop the mill property as a brownfield site — a state regulatory requirement for property that could have pollution from past industrial use. The notice said a project could include "residential, retail, offices, entertainment, brewery or food production facility, and other commercial uses."
Hall "has said he wants the best thing for Hendersonville all the way through this process," Caraker said. "So if something else came up that would have more economic value than his project, he'd be willing to step aside and let them have it."
The council members both said a newly discovered water leak has added urgency to the mill property decision.
"If this goes on much longer we'll be spending $10,000 to 15,000 a year to keep it dry," Caraker said. "I think something needs to happen before the building crumbles."
A city-commissioned appraisal assessed the property at $600,000 with the structure and $750,000 without it. Demolition could cost $200,000. Council members have said they're open to giving the property to a developer who commits to a project. The question of who pays for demolition, should there be one, has not been resolved.
If raw land makes more sense than using the historic structure, Miller said that's OK with him.
"This ol' boy is for taking the bulldozer to it," he said. "I'm tired of it. The thing's leaking, we're spending a lot of money and it's making us look stupid."