The crown jewel of Spartanburg’s mill renaissance is the massive, $50 million Drayton Mills renovation, which includes 289 apartments in a former spinning mill facing Drayton Road (built 1902) and a weaving mill (built 1929) behind it. Warehouses and a magnificent former company store on site are being marketed to restaurants and retail shops, and a 2-mile public walking trail now extends in each direction. The sheer scale of the redevelopment is awe-inspiring.
There are nearly 70 different loft apartment floor plans in the two buildings, most with 17- to 19-foot ceilings and original maple flooring. Rents range from $900 for one-bedrooms to $2,100 for three-bedrooms, and tenants began moving in in late 2015.
The entire 16-acre project is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Built and managed by Spartanburg’s Montgomery textile family, the mill came under the umbrella of Milliken & Co. (then known as Deering-Milliken) during the Great Depression. In the 1960s, at its height of operation, Drayton employed 1,200 people. It was shuttered in 1994 after a flood of cheap imported cotton and yarn into the United States. The name Drayton was chosen for the plant to reference William Henry Drayton, who founded the Spartan Regiment in the Revolutionary War.
The developers of this project include TMS Properties of Charlotte, Pacolet Milliken Enterprises, and Montgomery Development, which is headed by John Montgomery, grandson of the founder of Drayton Mills. When construction is completed in late 2016, visitors will be able to walk the grounds and tour some of the buildings.