The old Burlington Mill in Mooresville stood empty for more than a decade. When Michal Bay bought the massive complex in 2010, the floors were rotting and there were holes in the roof. Needles dotted the landscape.
Seven years later and the mill is full of life, thanks to extensive renovations and Bay’s vision.
Now called Merino Mill, home of Alino Pizzeria, Main St. Antiques, and Merinos Home Furnishings, the mill has been honored as a “Great Transformation” in the 2017 Great Places in North Carolina awards program, sponsored by the North Carolina Chapter of the American Planning Association (APA-NC).
A Great Transformation is a place that has been retrofitted and reenergized. Mooresville’s nomination highlighted the major efforts being taken to spur revitalization of a place that is central to the town’s identity and industrial heritage. It was the proactive dedication of mill owner Michal Bay, the town, and community that led the expert panel to select the Merino Mill complex for this award.
The panel noted the importance of this project to the economic vitality of the community. “They did a great job in figuring out how to successfully reuse something that is iconic and really big and make it successful,” says panel member Ben Hitchings, director of planning and development services of Chapel Hill.
Merino Mill and other Great Places winners will be recognized at the N.C. League of Municipalities’ Town Hall Day at the State Legislative Building on March 29 as well as at the APA-NC Annual Conference in September.
The expert panel of judges included Merrill Flood, Assistant City Manager, City of Greenville; Nicole Bennett, Senior Supervising Planner at Parsons Brinckerhoff in Raleigh; Ben Hitchings, Director of Planning and Development Services for the Town of Chapel Hill and a former APA-NC President; and Zak Pierce, Principal Landscape Architect, CLH design, pa.
Discover more about the history of this Mooresville landmark at the Great Places website (http://apa-nc.org/great-places-2017-winners/ ).