The renovation of the old Bradford mill and the Boyd Moving and Storage building is on track for a June completion.
Louisville-based The Marian Group gave Insider Louisville a tour of the future Bradford Mill Lofts and showed off the progress as well as what still needs to be done.
Justin Brown, a principal with The Marian Group, said the 147-unit apartment complex is a special project for his family not only because it restores long-vacant buildings but also because his great-grandfather settled in Germantown after immigrating to the United States and owned a barbershop in the neighborhood.
“My great-grandparents came off the boat and came here,” he said.
Framing for the 147 units is in place, and workers are currently putting up drywall. Bradford Mill Lofts will have a mix of one-bedroom and two-bedroom apartments, as well as what The Marian Group is calling one-bedroom flex apartments. The flex apartments have a smaller second room that can be used as an office space or even a second bedroom.
“At the end of the day, we are taking something old and amazing, and we are turning it into something that you can come in and make your own,” Brown said. “We want to give whoever’s renting it the flexibility to do what they want to do with their unit, but also know they are part of this really cool old building and this really cool old neighborhood.”
All the units are loft-style, which in the case of Bradford Mill Lofts means that the bedrooms and multi-use rooms don’t have a traditional ceiling. The ceiling is at least a few feet higher than the rooms’ walls, which allow more natural light in and keeps an open feel, Brown said.
“We got lucky; these buildings were easy to lay out,” he said.
Monthly rent rates will start at $750 and go up to $1,500 or $1,600 for the largest luxury apartments, he said.
The total project cost is $20 million, and the company will be eligible to receive a maximum of $400,000 in state historic tax credits for the project. In addition to the apartments, Bradford Mill Lofts will have a gym, a pool with food service, a courtyard and a restaurant.
Brown repeatedly stated that The Marian Group is focused on highlighting the historic and original features in both the mill and the Boyd Moving and Storage building.
“We are supporting actors coming in and putting in the modern features people look for,” Brown said.
Some of the brick in the building is painted gray for instance. As part of the historic renovation, he said, workers will clean up the brick walls and seal them, but the paint will remain. The Marian Group also is replacing the glass panes but keeping the framing and will keep the concrete floors but will stain them.
“We are trying to keep things as authentic as we can,” Brown said. “If it’s exposed, it’s exposed. And we personally think that is a very cool thing.”
The Marian Group has done other historic renovation projects before, which can sometimes create surprises for construction crews, but the company’s vice president of construction, Mike Lutke, said thus far nothing has come up that they weren’t expecting in the Bradford Mill Lofts project.
“You go into these existing buildings, and you don’t always know what’s behind the walls. You don’t know what things have been done over the years,” Lutke said. “This particular project was almost a blessing because it was a wide-open warehouse. There is nothing; it’s a blank slate. We don’t get this very often.”
Nearby Germantown Mill Lofts is a similar 188-unit loft-style apartment building off Goss Avenue. The property opened last year and is roughly 90 percent leased.
“It’s certainly confidence boosting. It takes risk to do this sort of thing,” Brown said of the Germantown Mill Lofts’ occupancy rate.
Brown added that they are friends with the Underhill family who renovated Germantown Mill.
“We both want to make this neighborhood better,” he said, “and if both of our projects are great, then we make each other better.”