A developer could begin rebuilding and renovating the fire-damaged Bellevue Manufacturing Co. textile mill in west Hillsborough later this month.
The deal with former owner Bellevue Development LLC closed Aug. 23. Developer Jim Sari, with Sari & Co. of Charlotte, plans to use historic tax credit programs to renovate the buildings and create 114 apartments on the the 9.8-acre property.
Fire burned through parts of the historic mill at 202 S. Nash St. in May, completely destroying the weaving building – one of four buildings on the property. Firefighters were able to limit the damage to the property’s northern end, but the roof collapsed, leaving the ruins to smolder for days.
The State Bureau of Investigation was called in to help Hillsborough’s fire and police officials with the investigation. They have determined a person caused the fire, Hillsborough police Lt. Scott Nicolaysen said, but have no way of knowing whether it was intentional.
The property was in the process of being sold at the time, and no work had started yet on the $20 million redevelopment project.
“It looked pretty bleak,” said Kirk Carrison, a local real estate broker. “I’ve been working on Bellevue for over 10 years on and off, and there have been a number of developers who have looked at it and a variety of things that have happened that have caused their particular rehabilitation plans to not go through.”
The buildings were leaking and “in dire shape” when the fire started, he said. Sari’s architect Eddie Belk came up with a plan to preserve the tax credits, make the project viable and restore the weaving building, he said.
It looked pretty bleak.
Kirk Carrison, real estate broker.
Belk, founder of Durham’s Belk Architecture, has a history of reviving old mills, including Brighleaf Square and American Tobacco.
The Bellevue mill is “a wonderful building and a real important part of the history of Hillsborough,” Carrison said.
It’s listed on the National Register of Historic Places and was designated by the Hillsborough Board of Commissioners as a local historic landmark. The buildings, dating from the turn of the 20th century and the 1920s, were last occupied by Flynt Fabrics, which closed its Hillsborough operations in 2000.
The building that burned was an addition to the mill complex built in 1920 as a weaving room.
“Having owned that site for a while and having a big desire to see that site redeveloped ... we’re just thrilled for Hillsborough at this exciting new life for the mill,” Bellevue Development representative Sue Green said.