The mill: Shaping the downtown in the next 10 years | MyWindsorNow.com

The mill: Shaping the downtown in the next 10 years

Emily Wenger
ewenger@mywindsornow.com

When driving down Main Street in Windsor, changes to one building can be seen almost daily.

Renovations to the historic mill in downtown Windsor could impact the entire downtown in the next 10 years, according to the Downtown Development Authority, from increased pedestrian traffic bringing more customers to shops downtown to developers seeing the project as a catalyst for development in Windsor.

At the historic mill, on the corner of 3rd and Main streets, renovations have been underway since 2016. A fall 2017 opening is planned.

The mill was damaged by a tornado in 2008, and in the fall of 2016, the Windsor Town Board approved an economic incentive package for the development of the structure, in partnership with the Windsor DDA.

“Ultimately I think the biggest game-changer is the fact that Windsor’s Main Street now has a landmark with landmark businesses that will help give the community more reasons to come and visit downtown Windsor.” Matt AshbyDDA Director

The mill's development is one of the highlights of the DDA's accomplishments since 2011, said DDA Director Matt Ashby.

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"Ultimately, I think the biggest game-changer is the fact that Windsor's Main Street now has a landmark with landmark businesses that will help give the community more reasons to come and visit downtown Windsor," Ashby said.

Although the downtown already has great businesses, Ashby said, the mill will be a large draw for residents and those outside Windsor.

When those outside residents come to town, the town board has plans for them to find added parking in the area and other projects — such as crosswalk improvements that would essentially extend the downtown design and atmosphere another block, according to the town. Town board members hope those enjoying the Summer Concert Series and new Windsor Farmers Market in Boardwalk Park also will be able to utilize the additional parking space.

The project was a big push for the DDA this past year, Ashby said.

"Basically, when I started it was kind of like, 'Well, what the heck do we do with this large building that's going to take millions and millions of dollars to renovate and refurbish?' " he said.

After a feasibility study was completed, Ashby said the town and DDA realized they alone would not have the funds to completely refurbish the building, which is when Blue Ocean came on the scene.

The Fort Collins developer saw the potential in the building, according to Director of Real Estate Steve Schroyer. Restaurants, a brew pub, offices and a tavern have been listed as possible occupants of the building.

Although the crew working on the building has encountered some challenges — like weak bricks on the outside of the building — it is on track to open this year with new tin siding, flooring and other elements. The developer has pledged to keep as much of the original structure as possible, with some historic elements left inside and outside the building.

"Folks are craving authentic places and authentic experiences," Ashby said.

PROGRESS OF THE WINDSOR MILL

The Windsor Mill was built in 1899. Initially used to process flour, the building was converted to a feed mill and was used as a livestock feed storage facility in the 1900s.

The building was placed on the National Register of Historic Places and the Colorado State Register in 1998.

The mill was damaged in the 2008 tornado.

A 2014 study estimated $9 million would be needed to restore the mill. The study also pinpointed potential uses for the building, like a restaurant and brew pub.

In August 2016, Blue Ocean was considering the building for development.

In November 2016, the Windsor Town Board approved a redevelopment incentive package to encourage the mill’s improvement.

The mill renovation project is scheduled to be completed by the end of 2017.

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