CBC Purchases Vacant Rocky Mount Mill

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Rocky Mount Mill
The Rocky Mount Mill sits on the Tar River.
Rocky Mount Mill dam
Three hydro-generators dot the river beside the mill.

Capitol Broadcasting Company holds claims in Raleigh, Durham, Charlotte, Wilmington and now Rocky Mount.   On the Friday before Memorial Day in 2007 the company closed on the deal to purchase the Rocky Mount Mills in the eastern NC city.

CBC purchased 300,000 square feet of mill and factory buildings along with about 30 mill houses and 30 vacant lots for mill houses.  Including some open acreage, the property totals 50-60 acres.

CBC President & CEO Jim Goodmon and his son American Tobacco Real Estate Associate Michael Goodmon discovered the property several years ago when the elder Goodmon spoke at a business event in Rocky Mount.  The duo was taken on a tour of the city, which included the mill, and it was love at first site.

Although the Goodmons soon began pursuing the purchase of the mill, they weren’t successful the first time out.  Another buyer stepped in, putting $2.5 million into renovations on the newly acquired property, but never moving further.  So the Goodmons kept their eyes on the mill and stepped in to purchase when it hit the market again.

Water tower
A familiar site, the water tower in Rocky Mount Mills echoes CBC’s Lucky Strike tower in Durham.
Beams
The inside of the mill shows construction dating back 100 years. CBC will work to keep much of the original structure when renovations begin.
Mill house
The property includes 300,000 square feet of mill and factory buildings in addition to 30 mill houses & vacant land.

Michael Goodmon says they are unsure of specific plans for Rocky Mount Mills yet, but he sees much potential in the property.  He envisions a mixed-use development including residential, commercial and retail. 

He says there are similarities between the revitalization of American Tobacco in downtown Durham.  One striking difference he points out is that Rocky Mount Mills already has a river.  (The Bull River in American Tobacco was man-made during the renovations.)

Tar  River
The Tar River provides a beautiful backdrop around the mill.
Historic sign
The Rocky Mount Mill is the second oldest cotton mill in North Carolina.

The Tar River runs through Rocky Mount Mills and three hydro-generators harness some of that water power for Progress Energy. 

Rocky Mount Mills has the comeback power the Goodmons especially admire.  The mill burned twice.  Once during the Civil War in 1863 when General Sherman marched through, torching the mill because Confederate uniforms were made there.  And the mill burned again in 1869, this time the victim of a disgruntled employee.

The second oldest cotton mill in the state, Rocky Mount Mills closed its doors in 1996, putting 320 employees out of work.

Currently Rocky Mount Mills has four employees, who run the generators.  Robert Bailey has been an employee of the mill his entire career, spanning around four decades.  Now his son works with him on the storied property.

A mere skip, hop and a jump from Raleigh on 64, the mill sits a mere mile from the heart of Main Street in downtown Rocky Mount.

Michael Goodmon said, “I think Rocky Mount Mills is an opportunity to transform an abandoned mill not only into a gateway into Rocky Mount but into Eastern NC.”

More sights from the Rocky Mount Mills Tar  River Bell tower
Water tower Generator Mill setting

Thanks to Corp’s Angie Emerline for these capcom photos.

 

POSTED: July 16, 2007

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