12/09/07 — Loft apartments to be built in former Borden Manufacturing building

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Loft apartments to be built in former Borden Manufacturing building

By Anessa Myers
Published in News on December 9, 2007 2:01 AM

Borden Manufacturing Co. has been silent for nearly 20 years. But within the next 14 months, the once-busy mill will be the site of upscale housing, officials announced Friday.

For more than a century, the Borden Manufacturing Co. buildings, built in the 1890s, produced large amounts of cotton yarn -- so much that the site also was known as the Goldsboro or Wayne Cotton Mills.

But, in the late 1980s, the company closed and the buildings have sat empty.

Until now.

A private company, Borden Lofts, has proposed to turn the buildings into just that, lofts -- 65 of them to be exact.

Right now, the plans are still in the very early stages of development, said Robby Baker, part owner, but he is very excited to get the project started, which will include preserving the historic mill.

"I hope this will be something the whole community can stand behind," he said. "This is a big part of Goldsboro's history."

Baker hopes to have the first units ready to go in 14 months.

Ranging from one to three bedrooms and 950 to 1600 square feet, the proposed 800 and 801 William St. lofts will offer more than a few amenities.

The plan is to include custom cabinetry, custom countertops and stainless steel appliances -- not to mention the rest of what gives the building its character, like the 16-foot ceilings, exposed brick, the existing 6-inch thick hardwood floors, 8-inch-by-8-inch wooden beams and large windows.

The new lofts are planned to cost between $150,000 to $200,000, but that, too, could change once construction starts, Baker said.

Overall, the renovation costs could "well exceed a couple million," Baker added, but he didn't want to put a total price on the project just yet.

"This is an investment in Goldsboro that can't be measured in dollars," he said.

Baker and another Borden Lofts part-owner Tom Webb plan to take the time and effort needed to renovate these buildings right, keeping as many historical elements in the designs as possible.

"We can't afford to slip up," Baker said. "We have to hit a home run."

Webb said Goldsboro fit the bill for what the company was trying to accomplish.

"I looked at a lot of different cities, a lot of different projects," he said. "I saw that there was some energy in the city to get things done here."

The project also got the attention of Preservation North Carolina.

Because the Borden buildings are listed on the National Register of Historic Places, PNC's Regional Director Dean Ruedrich said the project will pair well with what Goldsboro is already doing with historic preservation.

"What we're doing in Goldsboro is very unique," he said. "We're not doing it in any other community but here."

Denise Barnes, PNC board chair, said that Goldsboro is "a preservationist's dream."

"I'm absolutely in love with it," she said.

Downtown Goldsboro Development Corp. Director Julie Thompson is confident that this project will be a great thing for the city.

Mayor Al King and City Council members also believe that the project is good for the city's economic development.

Many warehouses have been turned into lofts in other areas around the state such as Edenton and Wilmington, and they have done very well, Baker said.

Borden Lofts will open an office on Center Street after the first of the year.