In March 2014, the City Council authorized the City Manager to execute a one-year agreement with Preservation North Carolina to explore possibilities for the Grey Hosiery Mill Building property.
Update: On September 4, 2014, the City Council recommended that Preservation North Carolina sell the Grey Hosiery Mill to White Challis, HD Investors, LLC or Investor's Realty Group, or any combinations of them, for the sum of $100,000, with the understanding that the sale will not take place until the White Challis Group has performed the necessary due diligence on the property.
Overview of Discussions Regarding Future of Grey Hosiery Mill
The City of Hendersonville conducted a convention center feasibility study in 2009 to determine if Hendersonville/Henderson County was a viable convention destination. The impetus for the study was the lack of large-scale event space in Hendersonville and the positive economic impact that convention activities can bring to the local economy. Further, it was perceived (and later documented by the study) that western North Carolina is underserved by convention facilities, despite its strong reputation as a tourism destination.
The study concluded that Hendersonville is an attractive destination for convention activity and that the community could realize a net economic benefit from the establishment of a facility downtown. However, the report warned that a successful facility would depend on the construction of an adjacent hotel to maximize the market potential of the facility.
The full report can be reviewed here: Final Report on Convention Center Study (2010)
After receiving the report, the Council concurred that the establishment of a convention facility was a worthwhile long-term goal, but that it was advisable to wait until the market attracted a hotel before investing serious effort in developing a convention center.
In the meantime, a separate and unrelated effort moved forward to dispose of the Grey Hosiery Mill, an historic but deteriorating mill building that the City has owned since the 1980s. A thorough competitive process allowed the Council to review competing proposals for reuse of the mill, but the Council expressed concerns that all of the proposals resulted in no compensation to the City. Concerned that the citizens of Hendersonville would not receive a fair return on investment if the building were given away, the Council began discussing other options for the building’s future.
Consideration of Renovation for Use as a Conference and Events Center
At their annual planning retreat held February 11, 2011, the City Council directed staff to research and develop concepts for rehabilitating the Grey Hosiery Mill as a civic center that could provide flexible space for community uses, as well as attracting and hosting small-scale conventions. The Council saw this as a logical blending of the need for events and civic space and the desire to see the Grey Hosiery Mill restored to active use as part of Hendersonville’s vibrant downtown. The City Council has made no commitments or decisions about the future of the building, but a majority of council members supported commissioning a study to examine if the facility could be renovated and expanded to serve as a public events and conference center.
On Tuesday, October 11, 2011, the City Council received a report from a team of advisors who studied the feasibility of converting the Grey Hosiery Mill into a conference and events center. The study looked at the market and space needs, recommended an optimum floor plan to meet local demand, and proposed one concept for the renovation and expansion of the historic mill.
Below are links to the final report and presentation which Council received at their meeting on October 11, as well as a video presenting the concept for the events center.
Appraisal - Received February 2014
Final Report - Feasibility Study of the Hendersonville Conference and Events Center at the Grey Hosiery Mill
Presentation summarizing results of the Feasibility Study
Concept for Hendersonville Conference and Events Center at Grey Hosiery Mill from City of Hendersonville onVimeo.
The City has a number of documents providing more details on the building.
The following links provide more information about the Mill and historic mill renovations in North Carolina.