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Maryland mill's commercial restoration nearly complete

A Maryland textile mill originally constructed in 1873 is set to reopen as an apartment and office complex following a $44 million restoration project. The project is the latest in a string of mill refurbishments in the Baltimore area, which has helped revitalize the industrial district that runs along the city's Jones Falls. Tenants are scheduled to move into the restored mill in May, with several offices, restaurants and a fitness center following soon after. The repurposed Commercial real estate will house 84 apartments and parking for around 165 cars.

Residents who live near the refurbished mill have expressed some concern about the mill's potential effect on traffic congestion, but the project's developer stresses that the mill will have a markedly positive effect on the surrounding area. He explained that his company plans to use valet services and nearby parking lots to reduce traffic around the mill, adding that the company has invested in the rehabilitation of the shoreline near the complex and that the increased number of people visiting the area will draw more attention to Jones Falls.

A program manager with Blue Water Baltimore, an environmental organization formed to promote the restoration of streams and other waterways in the city, said this increased attention will likely have a positive impact on the health of Jones Falls. The project has also won support from area historians. One historian and mill expert said that preserving the mill, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, as a commercial location effectively protects it from demolition, and thus allows future generations to appreciate the building's decades-long story.

In fact, many experts say that widespread commercial development along Jones Falls has helped address the problems posed by the numerous dilapidated industrial buildings in the area and turn them into profitable, attractive and unique homes and businesses.

Source:  Baltimore Sun, "With opening of Mill No. 1, the Jones Falls Valley's makeover is nearly complete" Steve Kilar, Apr. 27, 2013

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