A Look Inside the Historic Bemis Mill

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JACKSON, Tenn. — Bemis Mill developers say they’ve explored options of deconstruction and development for the century-old warehouse. “I understand the local community and we don’t want to come in here and be the bad guy,” Bemis Mill Manager Christian Morton said. An inside look at the Bemis Mill shows just how much owners say would have to be fixed in order to make the building operational again. “When we evaluate them, we decide if we’re going to potentially develop them or whether we’re going to deconstruct them. This particular building had a lot of infrastructure situations,” Morton said. Areas like holes coming through the roof and damp floors where water sits are just two reasons that Morton says they aren’t trying to develop the building. Maple wood and brick make the warehouse valuable, but if they sit there too much longer, managers say they won’t be worth anything at all. The company says just to bring the building up to code would cost up to $3 million. It would cost an additional $500,000 at minimum just to prepare the roof and secure the floors. “Mr. Bemis decided to build this building like no other mill town had ever been built,” resident Mary Frye said. Residents like Mary and Arvin Frye have lived in Bemis for years and say they have a lot of memories at the mill. Both of them worked there. They say they’re sad to see it go, but feel the building needs a purpose if it’s going to stay. “You can’t just keep something for no reason, even though that seems like a reason alright,” Frye said. Morton says Jackson Mayor Jerry Gist has two weeks to find a developer to buy the property. The asking price for the property is $2.5 million. If no one buys it, they’ll begin an 18-month deconstruction process.

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