Friday, September 11, 2009

2009 Places in Peril: Bibb Mill

The Story: This 1898 mill on the Chattahoochee River was purchased by Bibb Manufacturing in 1900. During the early 20th century, Bibb Manufacturing expanded the mill and developed the surrounding community of Bibb City for its mill workers. During the 1960's and 70's Bibb Manufacturing’s business began to slow and several mills were sold. By the mid 1990's, the company went through bankruptcy and eventually was sold to a corporation in Virginia. Columbus’ Bibb Mill was purchased by a private developer.

The Threat: The current owner has been searching for a way to rehabilitate the mill and has rehabilitated several historic buildings on the site as a conference facility. However, several warehouses have been demolished and last fall the owner received a demolition permit for most of the main mill, a 676,000 square foot structure.

The Solution: After receiving the demolition permit, the owner agreed to meet with The National Trust, The Georgia Trust, and other advisors to explore feasible development options and alternatives to demolition, but its immense size makes rehabilitation a multi-phase, complicated project.

UPDATE — Oct. 30, 2008
The Georgia Trust received news this morning that Bibb Mill, an 1898 textile mill, was destroyed by fire last night, just two weeks after it was listed on The Georgia Trust’s 2009 list of Places in Peril.

According to news sources, the fire started shortly after midnight Thursday. Firefighters worked until about 6 a.m. to extinguish flames that engulfed much of the 700,000 sq. ft. building. Small fires inside the building were contained shortly thereafter. The nearby conference center and neighboring houses were saved. The cause of the fire is not known at this time.

Fire Photo by Camera One


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