Concord City Council approved sewer allocation for the proposed Coleman Mill Apartments, moving the project another step closer to realization. Developers anticipate beginning construction on the project in summer 2022. Once complete, the redevelopment of the historic mill will honor Warren C. Coleman, a former slave and one of Concord’s most influential and pioneering leaders.
During City Council’s second work session on March 22, council members determined which development projects will receive sewer allocation, in accordance with the city’s adopted policy. Given current sewer capacity constraints, the unanimous approval of developer Sari and Company’s request for the Coleman Mill Apartments demonstrates Council’s unwavering commitment to the project.
“The impact of Warren C. Coleman on our city cannot be overstated,” said Mayor Bill Dusch. “He was a visionary who left an indelible mark on our community and we are proud to support efforts that will honor his legacy and provide affordable homes to families.”
In 1897, Warren C. Coleman built the nation’s first African-American owned and operated textile mill, the Coleman-Franklin-Cannon Mill. With support from the city, the former mill was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2015, and designated a local landmark by City Council in January 2018. The mill is located at 625 Main Street SW in Concord.
Today, the mill is under redevelopment by Sari and Company, based out of Winston Salem, NC. Sari and Company plans to invest at least $28 million to redevelop the property into 152 affordable housing units; a fitting tribute to Coleman who himself built nearly 100 houses so his workers would have a quality place to call home.
City Council approved site plans for the property in 2018, and the issuance of tax-exempt bonds in 2019 to help fund the acquisition, rehabilitation and development of the Coleman Mill Apartments. The bonds are payable solely from the developer’s revenues and not general obligations from the city. The city also allocated $385,000 in federal HOME funds for the project in 2020. In addition, the North Carolina Housing Finance Agency (NCHFA) awarded a 9% tax credit for the project in 2020.
Currently, the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) is working with Sari and Company to complete the required environmental review of the site. The developer is waiting on brownfield approval and an erosion control permit from DEQ. These are needed before the city can approve the final site plan.
Sari and Company is also working with state and federal agencies to meet historic preservation requirements given the mill’s designation on the National Historic Register. The developer is awaiting final approval from the NC State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO) and the National Park Service (NPS). Additionally, after the plans are approved by these agencies, they will need to be presented to NCHFA for tax credit review.
The developer anticipates construction to begin on the site in summer 2022.