Published in The Washington Post. By Michele Lerner.
Like other industrial chic apartments cropping up in the Washington area, The Mill at 515 in Old Town Alexandria has an interesting history.
The Mount Vernon Cotton Factory, built in 1847, functioned as a cotton factory until it was commandeered in 1863 and became the Cotton Factory Prison, also known as the Washington Street Military Prison for Confederate soldiers. After the war, the factory sat unused until 1903, when Robert Portner Brewing converted it into a bottling house. It was later a storage facility and a spark plug factory until 1935 when it was converted for use as apartments. Since 1981 the building has been used as office space.
Now developer Cas Riegler, architect Cooper Carry, and interior designer Akseizer Design Group have re-adapted the building at 515 N. Washington St. into 25 apartments. The approval process for the new apartments required collaboration with the Upper Old Town Design Advisory Committee, the Alexandria Board of Architectural Review, and both the Historic Preservation and Washington Street Design Guidelines arms of the National Parks Service.
The pet-friendly building has its own park with seating, parking and a top-floor event and party room with a kitchen and outdoor space overlooking Old Town Alexandria and the Potomac River. Residents can walk to Metro, waterfront parks and trails, restaurants and shops, including a Harris Teeter grocery store directly across the street.
Inside, the loft-style units have 12-foot-high ceilings with the original wood, iron and steel prominently visible, hardwood flooring and high-end kitchen cabinets and appliances. Preleasing has begun on the apartments, which range from 450 square feet for a studio to 2,000 square feet for a two-bedroom residence. Rents range from $2,100 to $4,600.
For more information, visit www.themill515.com.
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