Blue Ocean says parts of the Windsor Mill will be saved in new construction | MyWindsorNow.com

Blue Ocean says parts of the Windsor Mill will be saved in new construction

Emily Wenger
ewenger@greeleytribune.com

Just over a month after an intentionally set fire blazed through the Windsor Mill, the building's owner plans to salvage as much of the historic part of the building that it can while it continues developing the property.

The mill was destroyed in a fire once before in 1899, according to Caitlin Heusser, museum curator for the town of Windsor. The mill that burned this year was built in 1900, but it also was damaged in a 2008 tornado.

Building owner Blue Ocean Enterprises Inc. had big plans for the five-story mill at 301 Main St., including a brewery and community event space. The $9.2 million project was bolstered by a $3.7 million development incentive package from the town. The businesses planning to go into the building have not all been announced, but all are still on board with the project after the fire, according to Blue Ocean.

Because the site was placed on the historic register, Blue Ocean was working under different development guidelines and rules than it is now, but a company spokesman said Friday the business plans to keep its previous pledge to honor the site's history.

"Blue Ocean fully intends to respect the historical fabric of what was there with size, shape and mass, and roof line, so our plans are to try to put something back there that reflects that," said Steve Schroyer, director of real estate for Blue Ocean.

Brick testing for the building's structural integrity offered hope to the owners.

Recommended Stories For You

"The good news is all the brick you see out there is in really pretty good shape," Schroyer said.

Some of the posts and beams inside the structure, and in the basement where the Windsor Mill Tavern was expected to be housed, also will be salvageable, Schroyer said.

"We're going to try to retain as much as we can," he said.

One challenge with the brick, Schroyer said, will be putting the walls back upright after the top of the structure pulled at the wall in places when it fell. Some parts of the brick may have to come down, he said, to straighten the walls.

"The public will see some shoring poles come back — like was there after the tornado hit — to hold up the brick while we get inside to shore up the building," he said.

New materials will have to be used, Schroyer said, but the company plans to respect the general size and shape of the building.

Full drawings are not yet complete, and they will need to be approved through the town before construction can start, Schroyer said. Once that process is completed, it is expected to take between eight months and a year to build.

The next step now will be to begin cleanup, which Schroyer said will require a state demolition permit because of the site's magnitude. Residents should see the cleanup begin around Sept. 22.

While a fire investigation team from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives is still working to complete a full report on the cause of the fire, Schroyer said Blue Ocean continues to cooperate with the ATF's efforts.

Windsor Mill fire

To view more about the Windsor Mill, its history and the recent fire, go to bit.ly/WindsorMill.

Go back to article