N.Y. developers Michael Bay and Yovanna Alvarez will breathe life into the old Mooresville Mills complex when they open one of their WOW! Home Furnishings stores by Nov. 1 in one of its buildings facing South Main Street.
The developers have done similar mill-conversion projects in Jefferson, Ga., and Fort Lawn, S.C. They operate WOW! outlets in both communities.
They also plan to add courtyards, benches and native trees to the Mooresville site. Eventually they will hold community meetings to learn what else, such as cafés or boutique-type shops, residents would like to see there.
A construction-related fire in a nearby part of the complex this summer did not delay work on the store, Bay said at the site last week.
Bay said his workers have completed a sprinkler system inside the building that will house the store and are completing a fire-alarm system.
"Finishing and opening a project like this in just 10 months is incredible," Bay said on a tour of the site.
He said it couldn't have opened as soon as it is without cooperation from the town, the Mooresville Fire Department and the Iredell County Planning Department.
"With their help, we can open within 60 days," Bay said. "Really, truly, they have been extremely helpful. No bad experiences."
Bay said he has preserved 95percent of the original hardwood flooring in the area where the furniture outlet will open. The other 5percent had rotted, he said.
Bay has financed renovations to the 100,00-square-foot section that will open in November without borrowing from a bank, he said. He said he's not sure yet how much the renovation will cost. He also plans to move permanently to the neighboring historic mill village.
The complex at 476 S. Main St. has been vacant since Burlington Mills closed its denim operations there in 1999, putting 640 people out of work.
Bay and Alvarez have said their outlets sell furniture from Europe and the Far East at below-wholesale prices because the developers handle all the buying, and advertising is primarily word of mouth.
The Mooresville store will sell furniture, area rugs, carpet, antiques and home-decor items, Bay said.
The developers also have worked with Mooresville historian Cindy Jacobs to display 630 old Mooresville Mills pictures from her collection.
"We believe in American heritage," Bay told the Observer earlier this year. "It's a disgrace to knock down such a building. To me, this building is an antique. How could you ruin an antique?"
Huntersville boards to review Community Plan
HUNTERSVILLE On Sept. 13, the Huntersville Board of Commissioners and the Huntersville Planning Board together will discuss drafts of the commercial development and housing sections of the town's Community Plan 2030.
The plan will guide land use and development over the next 20 years. The town is scheduled to complete the updated plan by March.
Commissioners and planning board members also will discuss results of an online survey and other aspects of the plan at their joint meeting, at 6 p.m. at Town Hall, 101 Huntersville-Concord Road.
View completed draft sections of the plan at www.huntersville.org/planning_communityplan.asp.