Construction at the old Granite Mill on East Main Street in Haw River continued Wednesday as Burlington-based Resolute Elevator LLC used massive cranes to lower three modular elevators into the soon-to-be apartment complex.
Granite Mill started in 1844 and was one of the biggest producers of yarn in the state by the 1880s and a major producer of corduroy in the 20th century. The mill closed after 153 years in the late 1990s and has been vacant ever since.
Construction began on the site in fall 2018 as Durham-based developer Michael Hill with D3 Development imagined the conversion to the Lofts on Haw River apartments. Hill took on a similar project renovating the Lofts at White Furniture in Mebane in 2015.
On Wednesday, Burlington-based Resolute Elevators crews were on site, using multiple cranes to drop in three pre-fabricated elevators throughout the complex.
As the wind blew, crews climbed on and around the modular elevator, placing straps and removing shipping materials. An elevator crane hoisted the multi-story elevators into the air while a second smaller crane helped guide the shaft into an upright position. From there, the elevator crane operators flew the elevator shaft over the buildings before slowly lowering them into place.
Modular elevators have been in production for about 20 years, Resolute Elevators President Kimberly Fox said, but her company started making them locally about five years ago.
“These systems consist of a prefabricated fire-rated shaft, rubberized membrane roof, pit ladder, pit light, pit GFCI and all elevator equipment pre-installed in a factory, shipped to a project site and craned into place,” Fox said.
Fox said Wednesday’s effort was the first time three elevators had been installed in a single day in North Carolina.
Modular elevators have been used at a number of redevelopment projects across the state, including Resolute Elevators’ units being used at Revolution Mill in Greensboro and Rocky Mount Mill in Rocky Mount.
Fox said the pre-fabricated units are advantageous because they reduce installation time to one day versus the months in takes to construct an elevator shaft from the inside of a building. It takes Resolute Elevators about eight weeks to fabricate the units off-site before they are shipped in, she said.
“Our process takes only a few short days before the elevator is inspected,” she said.
The estimated $44.2 million Granite Mill redevelopment project is funded partially through state and federal tax credits, HUD-insured loans and a $5 million loan from the Town of Haw River, which was handed down by the state in summer 2018.
Once the redevelopment is complete, the old mill will take on a new life complete with 175 apartments, Marques Miller, a leasing and marketing specialist for the property, said. Units will include studio, one-, two- and three-bedroom lofts that range from 644 to 1,900 square feet each. Rent has not been decided on by Trivest McNeil, who will manage the property after it opens, but Miller said there will not be income restrictions as is the case for some other redevelopment housing properties in the area.
The property will include amenities such as a saltwater pool and a fitness center nestled near the former mill’s refurbished smokestack, river views from many apartments, a river walk and access to the water, electric car charging stations, an on-site restaurant, business center and coffee shop and a large common room.
All structural construction has been completed, Miller said, and crews have moved on to cosmetic interior and exterior work.
The first units are expected to be ready for occupancy this summer. The complex is already taking applications. More information can be found at loftsonhawriver.com.