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Posted: July 29, 2009 12:30 a.m.

Buy Local: Porterdale Mill Lofts

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Retrofitting historical buildings is an increasingly popular practice, combining history with modern amenities and maintaining previous styles of architecture, which become unique once again.

In 2006 the Porterdale textile mill and cotton warehouse were retrofitted and transformed into the Porterdale Mill Loft Development, a unique residential-retail mix development in the heart of Porterdale.

"There’s really not another product like it east of Atlanta," said Walter Davis, with the ownership group Davis Associates.

The Mill Loft was designed to revitalize Porterdale’s downtown, and its apartments, offices and retail properties cater to young families and singles, professionals and artists and independent retailers and business owners.

As of last week, Davis said 10 of the Mill Lofts’ 154 apartments were available to rent; one of the few times apartments have been available, after being at 100 percent capacity the first two years after the lofts opened. Davis said now is a great time to rent because he is offering reduced rent specials, as well as reduced deposits and application fees.

In 2012, the apartments will turn into condominiums, because the price of rent can’t support the initial construction and development costs in the long-term. Davis said the developments are higher-end than normal apartments. Anyone who rents up until 2010, will have the first opportunity to purchase the condos and will get 25 percent of the rent they have spent so far credited toward their purchase.

The retail side of the Mill Loft has been in more flux, with many businesses coming and going. However, there is a solid group of businesses currently in the development, including Jimbo’s Grill at the Mill, which serves causal hamburgers and sandwiches; Baby Cakes Bakery; A Time 4 Learning private school; Lofty Antiques; Cork Poppers wine store; and BB Fuzz Concert Hall and I Spy Museum, which gives music lessons, art lessons, sells art and has an I Spy museum for kids. The City of Porterdale, an insurance firm and others rent offices.

Davis said his company will make aggressive offers if the right tenants are interested in the property. In particular, there is large vacant restaurant space, which overlooks the Yellow River, that is waiting for the right tenant, Davis said: a cool, casual restaurant.

Interested residents or business tenants can call the leasing office at (404) 874-6688.

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