March 17, 2023

Long-awaited Chronicle Mill redevelopment in Belmont reaches grand opening as developers reflect

By Collin Huguley at Charlotte Business Journal

John and Jennifer Church bought the Chronicle Mill site in Belmont in 2013. Over the last decade, plans for its redevelopment have shifted, hurdles arose on numerous fronts, and a global pandemic delayed a planned construction start that was years in the making.

This week, the couple and its development team celebrated the grand opening of the adaptive-reuse project, and John Church reflected on the journey that led to that moment.

The owners of the mill teamed up with Armada Hoffler Properties Inc. (NYSE: AHH) in 2018 to develop the Chronicle Mill project. It now includes 238 apartments, 9,000 square feet of commercial space and a coworking component on a 7-acre site neighboring downtown Belmont.

The mill building dates back over 120 years and is critical to Belmont’s history. The development team joined with Belmont and Gaston County officials at a ribbon-cutting ceremony yesterday to tout the resurrection of an important catalyst to the community.

“Being part of the legacy is something that I never really thought about,” John Church told the Charlotte Business Journal. “It has been very rewarding to see it finally happen. It wasn’t a straight line, the development. We had a lot of ups and downs and starts and stops. We just had to keep going, and it finally came together when I met the folks from Armada Hoffler.”

Chronicle Mill has seen significant early success on its residential side. The first residents began moving into the apartments there in late October, and there are very few units left available. Armada Hoffler said earlier this week the apartments there are 98.7% leased and 91.2% occupied. Church said no tenants have signed yet for the commercial space, but there has been healthy interest. He expects that to pick up after the grand opening.

RKW Residential and Foundry Commercial are leading the leasing and management of Chronicle Mill.

During his remarks at yesterday’s ceremony, Church gave a nod to Armada Hoffler, which joined the effort years after the Churches purchased the mill, for helping bring the project to fruition.

We couldn’t be more proud of what has been created here,” said Shawn Tibbetts, chief operating officer for Armada Hoffler.

Construction began on the project in 2021 after numerous hurdles delayed its beginning. The construction start came after developers spent years planning the project and addressing environmental concerns at the mill site. The team was prepared to begin construction in the second quarter of 2020, but that was pushed back due to the Covid-19 outbreak. But plans for the project had shifted before that, too.

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