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Public gets first look at Grey Mill Apartments

Steve Hetherington leads a tour of the Grey Mill Apartments Steve Hetherington leads a tour of the Grey Mill Apartments

When Jerry Smith took his Hendersonville High School class on a tour of the new Grey Mill Apartments, delightful details kept popping up.

He noticed a silver pipe sticking up through the floor. The contractors said it would stay there even though its purpose, as far as Smith and the high school students knew, was lost to posterity.
“They just leave it there for decoration,” he said. “That’s what’s cool about it.”
When hardwood flooring was missing, the developer brought in old gymnasium floor to replace it, trying to match as closely as possible the original wood floor in the 1915 hosiery mill that once employed 250 people.
When workers sandblasted the exterior, “they had to use almond shells and walnut shells,” Smith said. “You can’t use sand. It hurts the wood.”
When the tour was all done, Smith gazed out at the soon-to-be adults and made a prediction.
“I could see one of you guys, if you move back to Hendersonville, I could see you living in one of these,” he told them.
Smith, who is also City Council member, was among those beaming Tuesday evening when the Grey Mill developer, Carrboro-based Belmont Sayer, hosted an open house for invited guests. Turnout was strong, an indication of the interest in the project.
Steve Hetherington, one of three owners, led a tour in which he pointed out the flooring, maple in one part, oak in another, an interior courtyard, and the industrial-sized windows. “All these big windows are going to be operable,” he said. “You’ll be able to open and close them.”
Belmont Sayre is developing the property in a partnership with the city of Hendersonville that took more than a year to negotiate. This Plan B — the original proposal for a hotel was deemed infeasible financially — will result in 35 rental apartments plus four townhomes. One-year leases will be offered beginning in August, property manager Blanca Sanchez said, with occupancy scheduled for January. The renovated mill will contain 18 two-bedroom, 14 one-bedroom and three studio apartments. The prospective tenants would be nurses, teachers, police officers and other professionals, some with kids. Dogs are allowed too, up to 75 pounds.
Amenities include granite countertops, energy-efficient appliances, high ceilings, spacious closets, a “welcoming lobby,” dog park and outdoor picnic and grilling area.
“I think it’s a great addition to downtown,” said Hendersonville mayor pro tem Ron Stephens. “It’s going to bridge the gap between Seventh Avenue and Main Street. It’s like the Historic Courthouse and Hendersonville High School It’s preserving a building that means a lot to a lot of families.”
Asked whether the developers are already fielding inquiries, Hetherington said yes, just now.
“Somebody on the floor today said they wanted to lease one,” he said. The city plans to landscape the paths to Main Street and to Maple Street in the Historic Seventh Avenue District. “That’ll kind of connect this building” to both, Hetherington said. “People will feel part of the downtown.”