Linden Mill: Still unclear when redevelopment begins


By Dave Vieser. The old Linden Mill, one of the last original buildings in the center of Davidson, is being considered for redevelopment under a plan recently presented to town officials by the State Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ). Town officials are excited about the possibility of seeing new activity on the property just south of Depot Street and west of the railroad tracks.

“This project addresses a permanent solution to the long-term environmental situation in that area,” said Davidson Economic Development Manager Kim Fleming. “It furthers our goal of historic preservation by rehabbing the mill, and enhances the small town character of which we are so proud.”

The site is currently listed by Lat Purser Associates, a well-known Charlotte based commercial real estate firm. The 53,000 square foot adaptive reuse project is expected to be used for retail, restaurant, brewery and creative office space. Purser associate Mark Miller, who is handling the listing, said residential development is not permitted.

The building itself features clear heights up to 16 feet with wood ceilings. The property includes more than 15,000 square feet of dedicated outdoor patio space, along with 58 new windows and large store front openings to bring in natural light.

Proximity to downtown and Davidson College is also a big plus, Miller added.

The property has a mixed history of uses. Asbestos on site led to a Brownfields designation, which is used when future use of a former industrial or commercial site is affected by real or perceived environmental contamination.

It was originally developed in the 1890s as a warehouse for a cotton mill. Additions were added in the 1940s and the 1950s on the eastern side, while the westernmost warehouse was constructed in 1976.

Former operators included Linden Manufacturing, Davidson Cotton Mill and Carolina Asbestos Corp. Current tenants include Rumor Mill, a bicycle repair store, storage facility, and a gym in the western warehouse.

Miller says that the Brownfields designation and previous asbestos on the site presents a special challenge which they are still evaluating.

So it’s unclear when the development will actually begin. “We’re still in due diligence and don’t have a timetable for opening yet,” he said.

No further zoning changes will be required from the town, as the site is zoned Village Commercial, which allows the uses that Purser is targeting.

An informational meeting on the proposal was held on December 9, 2019, at Davidson Town Hall, and the response was generally favorable.

The site does come with a number of other development restrictions in addition to the ban on residential use, including no childcare or adult care centers or schools.

Any redevelopment will require an Asbestos Design Plan prepared by a state accredited Project Designer and Professional Engineer. The plan must include a permanent cap design.         

The developer must also prepare and implement an Environmental Management Plan, a site specific plan developed to ensure that a project is implemented in an environmental sustainable manner.


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