Argos to refurbish West End cotton mill

Charlotte-based Argos Real Estate Advisors announced a plan Monday to refurbish a former cotton mill in Charlotte’s West End for office, retail and residential use.

The 180,000-square-foot Savona Mill at 528 S. Turner St. is an early 20th century textile mill that Argos purchased in 2012. Argos says the property, along which runs the Stewart Creek Greenway, could become a home to a number of food-related retailers.

“The mill was an important economic driver for these neighborhoods, and, with some vision and the right plan, it can be a special place again,” said Greg Pappanastos, president of Argos, in a statement.

The first of the property’s tenants is Blue Blaze Brewing, which will occupy 8,000 square feet facing the greenway. It is slated to open in spring 2016. A design company will relocate its headquarters to 45,000 square feet in the building, and an incubator kitchen for food entrepreneurs will occupy 10,000 square feet, Argos says.

Argos says it’s working closely with Lynn Shanklin Caldwell, creator of the Atherton Market in South End, on the incubator. A kitchen at the facility will also serve as a special event venue housed in the oldest part of the mill, Argos said.

“The kitchen is the first of many opportunities we see to partner at the mill,” Caldwell said.

The mill is in a part of town near Johnson C. Smith University that has experienced a slowdown of business activity over the years. Revitalization efforts, however, like a recent grant from the Knight Foundation, aim to turn the historic northwest corridor into a bustling residential and commercial district that connects directly to uptown Charlotte.

A nonprofit group of trolley lovers, called Lakewood Trolley Inc., is working to get the historic Lakewood Trolley up and running again. They plan to run it from Cedar Street in uptown’s Third Ward 2 miles northwest to the 29-acre Martin Luther King Jr. Park in the Historic West End community, along the county-owned Stewart Creek Greenway.

Another Argos property in the works is a former warehouse at 2173 Hawkins St. in South End. An ad agency called Mode recently moved into about 7,000 square feet of space, and Argos recently said an undisclosed restaurant purchased 2,500 square feet of space, too. Argos is marketing the remaining 2,500 square feet for bar/restaurant use.

Katherine Peralta: 704-358-5079, @katieperalta