Loray Mill Update

Seabrook Says: Occasionally, we are surprised and very pleased about how well things turn out. Lucy Penegar shares with us much of the Loray Mill story. Read it and be impressed! 

Would you be surprised to know that the apartments at Loray Mill are renting so well that all Phase I three-bedroom and one-bedroom apartments are filled? As Phase I of the project is now complete, that means all amenities for the renters are complete, outside and inside. The outdoor area includes a pool and pool house, dog park, fire pits and grills, tables and lounge chairs, a bocci court and outdoor movie screen. The indoor area includes a pool table, foozeball table, game stations, kitchen facilities, sofas, chairs, and tables.

Two model apartments, located on the main floor, are furnished to show off the look of loft space living. They contain high quality stainless kitchen appliances, stone counter tops, ceiling fans, and window shades. The majority of the apartments are on the upper floors. All are in private areas accessed by a code pad. Construction on Phase 2 will begin soon and will provide 110 more apartments, bringing the total to over 300.

The commercial space includes 100,000 square feet of glass front stores on two levels, with floor cut outs that makes the space resemble a two story mall. In a multi-use facility, the commercial spaces fill up after the apartments are full, insuring a customer base. There are several businesses talking with the developers and the Loray Athletic Center is opening soon.

This community area includes a large rental space with a 40 foot high ceiling that can seat 300 in an auditorium setting, or become a large dance venue. It has already been used for wedding receptions, reunions, and large gatherings.

The Kessell History Center is expecting a spring opening. The UNC Chapel Hill Digital Innovation Lab staff and director Bobby Allen (from Gastonia) are designing this high tech, interactive exhibit. Archivist and designer Julie Davis has been on site several months working on the center. This type of exhibit is the first of its kind and is being studied by other similar projects.

The neighborhood is also getting some much needed help. UNC Greensboro supplied a class of interior architecture students to redesign some of the early historic workers’ houses for today’s use. The students drew plans for “millennials” and the downsizing “baby boomers”. Preservation/NC has received a major loan and is looking for additional grant money. They will open a couple of model homes and look for sensitive buyers who are interested in the national “smaller house movement”. The houses will sell with protective covenants and require owner occupancy, which helps stabilize neighborhoods.

So come to the Loray Mill, especially if you were one of the skeptics, and see how this project is changing west Gastonia. If you have been a supporter, come confirm your positive “can do” attitude. It is open daily and there are special events, like Loray Live, that will help you see how fantastic this project really is!

Lucy Penegar
Founding Member
Gaston County Historic Preservation Committee

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