The Grey Mill Recognized as Best Adaptive Reuse Project

The Grey Mill Recognized as Best Adaptive Reuse Project

Downtown Hendersonville among 9 communities recognized by North Carolina Department of Commerce

The Grey Hosiery Mill project in Downtown Hendersonville, North Carolina was recognized as best adaptive reuse project during the North Carolina Main Street Awards Ceremony on Wednesday, March 1. Liz Parham, Director of the North Carolina Main Street and Rural Planning Center presented the awards virtually in categories that include economic vitality, design, promotion and organization. 

“We are delighted to honor these remarkable communities and their award-winning projects,” said N.C. Department of Commerce Secretary Machelle Baker Sanders. “Not only did these projects create more jobs in rural communities, but they also sparked economic recovery and enhanced the historic and cultural assets of our state.” 

“The projects being recognized represent local capacity to develop public-private partnerships, leverage local assets, and create economic development initiatives,” added Kenny Flowers, Assistant Secretary for Rural Economic Development. “North Carolina communities used public and private investment, historic tax credits, and Commerce’s Main Street Solutions Fund and the Community Development Block Grant Neighborhood Revitalization dollars, to bring these projects to fruition.” 

The Grey Hosiery Mill received an Award of Merit for Best Adaptive Reuse project. The mill is an icon of early development in Hendersonville. Originally constructed between 1915 to 1918 with operations as a hosiery mill ceasing in 1967, the building served a variety of uses before becoming vacant and falling into disrepair over the last 20 years.

Partnering with the UNC’s Development Finance Initiative (DFI) in 2016, the City began what was widely seen as a final effort to recruit a developer to rehabilitate the Mill. With DFI serving as a development consultant, the City selected Belmont Sayre, LLC based on the strength of their proposal and extensive experience in the historic mill rehabilitation in North Carolina. 

The finished project includes 35 rental units with an estimated property value of $6,000,000 and is expected to generate an estimated ~ $65,000 in City and County tax revenue beginning in 2020. The 28 units of workforce housing, with rents pinned to 80% to 120% of AMI and 7 units pinned to 80% of AMI and under, combined with the convenient in town location are having a positive impact on quality of life for the area workforce. With early targeted recruitment of tenants from local civil servants, these benefits are assisting our community in supporting and retaining a quality workforce.

“The Grey Mill project is an excellent example of a municipally owned historic resource being rehabilitated by leveraging public and private dollars, historic tax credits, and CDBG fund,” noted City Manager John Connet . “We're proud of the flexibility our small community displayed and the strategic long-range vision that guided elected officials during project shifts.”

The City of Hendersonville Downtown Economic Development Program led the Grey Hosiery Mill reuse project, in partnership with the University of North Carolina Development Finance Initiative, Land of Sky Regional Council of Government, and developer Belmont Sayre.

The City of Hendersonville was also the recipient of a second Award of Merit for Best Economic Recovery Initiative for their LoveHendo Covid 19 Response.

The North Carolina Main Street and Rural Planning Center helps small towns create vibrant central business districts by preserving their historic fabric and building on their unique characteristics using local resources. A panel of judges chose this year’s award winners from more than 30 nominations submitted by Main Street communities statewide.


The following projects received 2020 Awards of Merit:



Best Public-Private Partnership in Downtown Revitalization

  • Belmont – Techworks Gaston

Best Economic Recovery Initiative

  • Belmont – Keep The Lights On In Belmont   
  • Hendersonville – LoveHendo – Downtown Hendersonville COVID-19 Response Plan
  • Morganton – COVID-19 Small Business Recovery Strategy
  • Mount Airy – Market Street Arts & Entertainment District


Best Downtown Special Event or Event Series

  • Salisbury – 2019 Cheerwine Festival 

Best Retail Promotion

  • Belmont – Belmont Al Fresco Dining


Best Adaptive Reuse Project 

  • Fuquay-Varina – Governmental Facilities Project Fuquay-Varina Town Hall
  • Hendersonville – Grey Hosiery Mill Reuse
  • Wake Forest – Norse Brewing Company

Best Endangered Properties Rescue Effort 

  • Lenoir – Stine’s Ice Cream Parlor Building


Best Historic Rehabilitation Project

  • Washington – The Hackney





The Main Street & Seventh Avenue Advisory Committees exist to identify, preserve and enhance the key factors that contribute to the authentic small town urban character of historic downtown Hendersonville. Organizational projects are identified, assessed and prioritized based on their contribution to and potential to enhance and support a vibrant entrepreneurial environment and the livability of downtown.