MOUNT AIRY, N.C. -- Mount Airy's new redevelopment commission has plans to restore and revitalize the old children's manufacturing factory Spencer's Inc.
Redevelopment Commission Chairman Steve Yokeley said that the city paid more than $90,000 for the nearly 10 acre property along Willow Street at a city auction in May.
Yokeley said that the commission plans to work on redevelopment plans for all of the city's blighted commercial buildings but the iconic blue brick building is on top on their list.
Currently the commission is working on tax credits and panning grants. Yokeley said he hopes to have a proposal in place by the beginning of next year for developers.
"We're going to get help from UNC School of Government and the Piedmont Triad Regional Council and our current planning department to begin planning," Yokeley said.
Four public input meetings will be scheduled during the course of the planning process but already the commission is thinking of a hotel, convention center or even a distillery.
Originally built in the late 1880s, the building first served as a tobacco plant, then turned into Spencer's Inc. (owned by the Crossingham family) for infant/children's clothing manufacturing in the 1920s.
"In the 1980s they had as many as 2,000 employees and of course there are none now and there haven't been any since 2007," Yokeley said.
Yokeley said depending on the condition some of the buildings may have to be torn down. The original two along Willow Street will remain.