The massive Loray Mill has been sitting vacant in Gastonia for nearly two decades, but that could be about to change. Camden Development Partners wants to build 190 loft apartments there along with space for shops.
City officials announced Monday the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development has committed to financing. Jack Kiser with the City of Gastonia has high hopes for the Loray Mill.
"It is in an area that will have tremendous catalytic effect in turning around real estate and creating an opportunity for new investment," says Kiser.
Gastonia's Mayor John Bridgeman said he was happily surprised the project is moving forward. Camden actually planned on closing the deal five years ago. But then the housing market collapsed and financing was hard to come by.
The Loray Mill was once the South's largest textile mill under one roof. In 1929, the mill made headlines around the world when a labor dispute turned violent. Gastonia's police chief and a union activist were killed.
Firestone bought the plant in the thirties. The mill produced woven wire cord for many years. Firestone closed the mill in 1993 and moved into a new plant in Kings Mountain. The deal is expected to close in August and construction will begin shortly after.