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Windsor’s mayor excited by development prospects for old textile plant

Damaged windows are visible from the outside of the former Nova Scotia Textiles building in Windsor.
Damaged windows are visible from the outside of the former Nova Scotia Textiles building in Windsor. - Mark Goudge

WINDSOR, N.S. - Windsor mayor Anna Allen is excited at the prospect of a new life finally coming for the old Nova Scotia Textiles plant in the town.

Halifax developer Navid Saberi acquired the iconic building and the two-hectare property it sits on late last summer. At the time there was talk of a seniors complex for the property just off Highway 101, but Allen says options are still being discussed.

“We’re very hopeful,” Allen said.

“We’ve waited a long time.”

She said she, the town’s CAO, and their counterparts from the municipality of West Hants met with Saberi last fall.

“We shared with him some needs we have for the community, and he asked to have it on paper so he could look at (possibly) including it in the uses of that building and what the design might look like.”

Allen said the final design and use is up to the developer, but they wanted to provide their input.

Some of the needs in the town include “affordable housing, high-end housing and in-between housing, we need all kinds of housing in this area ... housing is definitely a need, but we do have other options in some of those (categories), so we’re looking toward making those happen as well.”

She said office and retail rental space is also needed in the area.

The old mill, originally a cotton processing plant built in the 1880s, was best known for producing underwear, then sports wear, and finally fire-resistant products before closing in 2005. A previous attempt to develop the property with retail units downstairs and condominiums in the upper levels barely got off the ground before financial issues stopped work a decade ago and it has sat empty since.

“It may not look like its salvageable, but it indeed is very salvageable and developers recognized that,” Allen said. “It is quite a unique building in Nova Scotia.”

Saberi was unavailable Tuesday.

The development is coming at the same time that another developer is looking into a possible redevelopment of land between Upper Water Street and Lake Pisiquid that could include residential and mixed-use properties.

That land is basically diagonally across the Highway 101 interchange in Windsor’s downtown.

Allen said the developments are important with Highway 101 being twinned through the town, and would be a major facelift.

“It’s huge, huge, huge for the town, and we’re really trying to work with these developers to make sure they move forward and keep going and have a good project for us.”

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