Hawthorne Mill to become condos, development plan gets revealed Aug. 26

Wally Thorbjornsson standing outside of outside Hawthorne Mill.
Carleton Place developer Wally Thorbjornsson stands outside Hawthorne Mill. He has plans to turn the old mill into a residential building. Photo credit: Jane Hobson.
Posted on: August 21, 2017

Jane Hobson

Carleton Place residents will be treated to a brand new seven-and-a-half-acre condo and apartment development in the next few years.

“Nothing is finalized yet but we’re very excited as we’re still working on the plans,” said Wally Thorbjornsson, the developer who has plans to turn the Hawthorne Mill property into high-end condos and apartments. “It’s an extensive, multi-year project for sure.”

Located at the end of Hawthorne Street on the south bank of the Mississippi River, Hawthorne Mill was built in the late 1870s and operated as a woolen mill until the mid-1900s.

Thorbjornsson, who began developing many local properties about five years ago, says the exterior of the mill will be restored to its original state as much as it can be. Many of the original interior posts and beams will be left untouched to honour the history of the building that once employed hundreds of Carleton Place residents. “There are very positive and warm vibes around the building.”

There will be three main buildings, two of which are the old mill and the red brick building beside it. Hawthorne Mill itself will likely be turned into 32 apartments units and the brick building will be 36 apartment units, some of which will be loft-style.

“We are planning on building a multi-storey tower as well,” Thorbjornsson says “We are not looking to change the footprint of anything too, too much — it’s just about repurposing.”

The goal is to offer something that is currently not on the market in Carleton Place. The buildings will boast unique features like living rooftop terraces and private docks along the river for residents.

The rental units will be a mixture of affordable senior housing and market value rent, explained Thorbjornsson. “The first obvious benefit is that we will have some affordable rental units for seniors,” he said. “And secondly we will bring more life into this part of town, which is just a two-minute walk from the downtown core.”

The units will have spectacular views of the Mississippi River and some will be as little as 12 feet from the water. The condos and apartments will be a short walk away from the canoe club, the swimming area, the splash pad at Riverside Park, Carleton Place High School and main street, making it a great place to live for everyone.

“Not everybody wants to live in a house, so this will be great for people who want to be close to the downtown and still enjoy the breathtaking views of the river,” Thorbjornsson said.

Along with condos and apartments, the development will also encompass some commercial space. “We’re looking at one restaurant with a beach facing patio and then a couple of smaller boutique shops as well,” Thorbjornsson said.

Thorbjornsson and his team are documenting the history of Hawthorne Mill throughout its rejuvenation. “We are on the hunt for the bell from the original tower,” Thorbjornsson said.  “We want to honour the legacy that is here.”

Thorbjornsson is hosting an open house at Hawthorne Mill on Saturday, Aug. 26 where the plans for the development will be revealed. Members from the design staff and engineers will be present to answer questions.

“We will reveal our concept plan for the entire development, we will open up more of the old buildings than we did before, we will invite people on tours through them and [The Carleton Place and Beckwith Heritage Museum] will be working with us.” The goal is for people to bring artifacts, photographs, memories and any information to help document the history of the mill.

“This, in my opinion, going to be the crown jewel of Carleton Place development,” Thorbjornsson said. “I believe I can turn this into a venture that will financially carry itself and be the pride and joy of Carleton Place. I really think I can do something that the town can be proud of.”

This article was first published in the August issue of Hometown News. For more articles from our August issue, pick up a print copy at a local retailer or read our digital version.

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