Smart Growth for Vernon, CT
Roosevelt Mill makeover goes out for bids

By Max Bakke
Journal Inquirer
Published: Tuesday, December 1, 2009 10:25 AM EST

VERNON — The town is seeking bids on a significant clean-up project to the long-vacant Roosevelt Mill.

As part of the $1.2 million clean-up project that went out for bid last month, Town Administrator John D. Ward said the building would receive a full-scale makeover.

Debris will be removed from the main structure, as well as all remaining asbestos and lead, and security will be improved to the main building’s doors and first-floor windows, Ward said.

The grant-funded work can start as soon as the required state agencies sign off on the plans, which have all been submitted, Ward added.

The mill has been targeted for redevelopment by Westport architect Joseph Vallone, whose Loom City Lofts plans to convert the old textile mill into a mixed-used commercial and residential building, replete with 68 rental units and about 10,000 square feet of medical or commercial space.

Built in 1906, the mill is on the National Register of Historic Places. At its high point, the mill employed about 250 workers, but in 1988 the company abruptly closed after workers — who had not been paid for three weeks — walked off the job.

In April, a fire sparked in some debris on the fourth floor of the site, causing little damage to the “fire-proof” building, which had been constructed with reinforced concrete. It was not the first fire the mill had seen.

In 1998, a blaze blew out all the mill’s windows, leaving it a Rockville section eyesore.