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Old mill in Valdese to become 60-unit apartment complex
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Old mill in Valdese to become 60-unit apartment complex

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VALDESE — An old mill in Valdese soon will be renovated into an apartment complex with workforce pricing.

Dogwood Health Trust announced in a press release that it awarded a $2 million grant to Northwestern Housing Enterprises to help transform the Historic Valdese Weavers Mill along Main and Praley streets in downtown Valdese into a 60-unit rental housing development.

The proposed project, with an estimated price tag of $12.3 million, will see the mill transformed into 60 apartments with lofted ceilings, refinished wood floors and large windows. Other funding for the project will come in from the Low Income Tax Credit and state and federal historic/mill tax credit equity, the press release said.

Valdese Town Manager Seth Eckard said many might remember the mill as the former Laurel House manufacturing building just off Main Street at Praley Street. Some may also know it as the old Houston Hosiery Mill.

“One, housing is a big need in Valdese and all of Burke County, and obviously we’re excited that we’re going to be able to make a dent in that with 60 new, affordable units,” Eckard said. “Two, it’s a great boost to our downtown, being able to revitalize an old mill. We’re excited to see a reuse project like that, and then also, having a big construction project in town is going to help the local economy as well. This is a great boost to Valdese.”

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The property appears to still be owned by Striker Properties, who asked for the old mill to be rezoned for potential housing development in April 2019, according to a previous News Herald article.

Dogwood Health Trust said in its press release that the project is expected to be completed in early 2024.

Northwestern Regional Enterprises, who will be leading the effort to transform the property, has a mission to increase the supply of low- and moderate-income housing, promote economic development and assist the Northwestern Regional Housing Authority with its goals in northwestern North Carolina, according to the Dogwood release.

“We are thrilled to receive this grant from Dogwood Health Trust,” said Ned Fowler, the executive director of NHRA, which oversees Northwestern Housing Enterprises in Burke, Alleghany, Ashe, Avery, Mitchell, Watauga, Wilkes and Yancey Counties. “The renovation of the Historic Valdese Weavers Mill allows us to bring affordable workforce housing to Burke County and generate economic development in this commercial area that has terrific growth potential and convenient access to some of our service and retail outlets.”

Sarah Grymes, Dogwood’s vice president of impact for housing, said in the release that helping fund the project made sense for the health trust.

“Funding this type of project aligns perfectly with our vision to create at least one affordable or workforce housing project in every county we serve,” Grymes said. “Nearly 40% of Burke County’s renters are overburdened with the cost of providing a safe place for their families to live, and Dogwood Health Trust believes that health and wellbeing begins with safe and affordable housing projects to bring safe and affordable housing to our communities means healthier individuals and sustained economic development in those areas.”

Construction on the project is expected to start this summer, the release said.

Chrissy Murphy is a staff writer and can be reached at cmurphy@morganton.com or at 828-432-8941. Follow @cmurphyMNH on Twitter.

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