Grand vision takes shape at Plant Seven
This article was originally written by the High Point Enterprise. Click to view >>
HIGH POINT — Next to BB&T Point stadium, a $10 million construction and renovation project is underway that organizers say is just one part of a major downtown revitalization project.
Contractors have removed the windows and much of the interior of Plant Seven, a design center and start-up hub for businesses.
The 100,000-square-foot building at 410 W. English Road was previously a furniture showroom and, before that, a hosiery mill, along with the building next to it, The Factory.
Both are being transformed into a new campus that will eventually include an events center, as well as office and retail space.
“That construction by itself is bigger and grander than I could ever imagine,” said Patrick Chapin, president and CEO of Business High Point-Chamber of Commerce, which is helping spearhead the project. “The project is spectacular. The whole campus, even the feel of what it’s doing right now — as you drive by, you can just see the energy of things happening.”
Chapin credited chamber Chairman David Congdon and the Earl and Kathryn Congdon Family Foundation with helping drive the development of the campus concept.
The foundation bought Plant Seven and The Factory and has made a philanthropic commitment of more than $30 million to the entire project, Chapin said.
General contractor Landmark Builders is creating a 40-foot by 30-foot atrium with an open space, elevator and stairs through all four floors in the middle of Plant Seven.
“It’s a 40-by-30-foot hole that they’re opening up from the roof to the third floor to the second floor, and each floor is probably 12 to 13 inches of concrete,” Chapin said. “So the building, as you can see as you drive by — it’s basically being gutted.”
Construction is on track to finish over the summer, he said.
“The vision has only become grander,” Chapin said. “What was going to be a typical makerspace is now a production and prototype facility that will be like nothing else in the country. There will be a lot more community assets and places to congregate and have events. There is also a real focus on the heritage of High Point.”
Features will include a cafe on the ground floor and space for board meetings and “TED Talks” style public events, he said.
The courtyard between Plant Seven and The Factory will be the centerpiece of the campus.
Future phases will include the Congdon Events Center, which will be constructed on The Factory’s parking lot and connected to the existing structure.
A major announcement next week will reveal more details about the campus.
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