The city of Greensboro is supporting a $54 million redevelopment project at Printworks Mill with $1.2 million in funds from a 2016 housing bond, but some question whether the price point for the “affordable” housing is realistic for current residents in District 2.
City Manager David Parrish recalled riding his bike as a child through the neighborhood to the south of the old Printworks Mill, which was derelict even then. He jokingly asked the crowd of developers and city leaders not to tell his mom that he had also played in a nearby section of North Buffalo Creek that remains choked in weeds.
As Parrish concluded, the sound of a car accelerating and then screeching to a halt on nearby Fairview Street provided a comedic audio embellishment to his narration.
“We’ll work on some radar enforcement, too,” Parrish quipped.
The $54 million investment by the Wisconsin-based Alexander Co. to redevelop the iconic 1913 mill helps to fulfill a goal of Councilwoman Goldie Wells, who represents District 2. Wells recalled that when she first ran for city council in 2005 she adopted a slogan of transforming “trash” to “treasure.”
“This is going to be another treasure,” she said.
The Alexander Co. plans to redevelop the derelict mill into 217 apartments, with parking, retail and self-storage space, with completion anticipated in late 2019 and early 2020. Following on the heels of the redevelopment of Revolution Mill — completed in 2017 — the project adds a new component to what the developer and city officials are dubbing a new “Mill District.” Printworks, Revolution and, further downstream, White Oak, were once part of the Cone Mills textile empire, which provided the industrial backbone of the city in the early 20th Century and spawned the mill villages that set the pattern for the working-class residential neighborhoods that remain today.