An abandoned North Charleston textile plant that once made rubber soles for astronaut boots plans to add a food hall as part of a new mixed-use development.
Developers of Garco Mill are looking to include a 16-stall culinary destination in the rehabilitation project off Montague Avenue near the city's Olde Village.
Garco Mill Developers, a group of local investors led by state Rep. William Cogswell of WECCO Development of Charleston and Jay Weaver of Weaver Capital Partners, are partnering with Atlanta-based developers David Cochran and Merritt Lancaster of Paces Properties on the food and beverage venture.
Cogswell and Weaver were also involved in the redevelopment of the Cigar Factory on the Charleston peninsula.
The two-story Garco Mill, a mixed-use restoration project under construction between Virginia and O'Hear avenues, will include 60,000 square feet of office space and allocate 20,000 square feet for the planned food hall.
“We are incredibly excited to become a part of the Charleston culinary scene," Cochran said. "The food hall at Garco Mill will provide restaurateurs and retailers with an opportunity unlike any other. We are looking forward to immersing ourselves in the local community and creating a gathering place for all to join around the table.”
Paces Properties' officials say they have experience in the development, leasing and ownership of specialty retail centers as well as creating distinctive environments.
The food hall is taking cues from a similar one in Atlanta called Krog Street Market, which is in a 1920s-era warehouse with more than 20 stalls. It's home to six James Beard-nominated chefs and mixologists and has picked up a nod from Travel & Leisure magazine as one of the "World's Best Food Halls," among other accolades.
The Garco Mill developers will focus on regional, specialty retailers and restaurants for the food hall roster. No vendors have been lined up.
“There are not many opportunities to redevelop a historic mill but also in an area where you can immediately connect into a walkable retail experience like Park Circle in North Charleston,” Cogswell said. “The city has paved the way for us to tap into what they have been putting in place for several years.”
Garco Mill will include an outdoor pavilion and parking next to a one-acre public park. Future development plans also call for a movie theater and pad sites for additional office and retail spaces.
The abandoned building was once home to General Asbestos & Rubber Co. It was constructed around 1901, but the business, which changed names over the years, went under decades ago.
The developers bought it from the city in 2015 for $1 million with plans to upgrade the site at a cost of $18 million. Garco Mill is expected to open in early 2019.
A variant of the food hall trend called The Workshop opened about two years ago on the upper peninsula. But it describes itself an "exploratory food court," namely because it does not include retail vendors.