E.A. Copeland and W.R. Jackson opened the Mary Leila Cotton Mill in June 1900, naming it after their wives, Mary and Leila. The mill continued to be a major employer in Greene County for more than a century until it closed in the early 2000s. During much of its history, between 100 and 300 workers manufactured cotton sheeting. In later years, production switched to cordage material.
The mill ownership changed hands in 1972 when Wellington Puritan purchased the facility. The Madison-based company operated the mill until a decade ago.
As a result of historic industrial practices that occurred for nearly 100 years, some areas of soil around the main cotton mill became impacted by metals and semi-volatile organic compounds (SVOCs), primarily coal ash (that migrated from the power generator) and lead. The old buildings and structures contained lead-based paint and asbestos – commonly used materials at the time, but considered to be hazardous today.
The site was placed on the National Register for Historic Preservation in 1987, and shortly after, efforts began to reclaim the old mill building and put it to use for the benefit of the community under the state’s brownfields program.
Nathan McGarity recognized the historic significance of the property when he purchased it in July 2011. After a series of public meetings, the city approved an application to change the property’s zoning from industrial to Commercial Planned Unit Development.in 2013.
Greensboro Mill, LP, an Atlanta-based development team with more than 15 years’ experience building and managing affordable housing communities throughout the Southeast, purchased the property from Greensboro City Development, LLC (McGarity) in 2015.
A site investigation looked at the conditions of soil, groundwater, surface water, and stream sediments. Because some areas of soils were found to have been impacted by historic industrial activities, a corrective action plan was prepared and approved by EPD. The approved remedy was completed in 2016, with additional soil removal performed in January 2017.
The conversion of the old mill into residential units is expected to be completed and ready for occupancy in 2016.
The Mary-Leila Cotton Mill opened with 100 employees manufacturing cotton sheeting. Named after the wives of mill founders E.A. Copeland and W.R. Jackson.
Mill operation grew to employ 300 workers.
Wellington Puritan of Madison, Georgia purchased the mill.
Property added to the National Register for Historic Preservation – Site was entered into the state brownfields program and a Corrective Action Plan was approved by EPD. Cleanup work was limited to an Underground Storage Tank (UST).
Mill operations ceased.
Groundwater was tested for metals and semi-volatile organic compounds (SVOCs). No levels were found that exceeded Risk Reduction Standards (RRS).
Property purchased by Greensboro City Development, LLC.
City rezoned property from industrial to Commercial Planned Unit Development.
Revised Corrective Action Plan approved by EPD.
Property purchased by Greensboro Mill, LP. Environmental remediation and construction begins. Environmental remediation work will be completed by Dec. 31.
Renovation completed; 24 new residents moved in during October.
All 71 units are expected to be occupied.