Tim Flannery, the developer responsible for the the rehabilitation and rejuvenation of Dana Warp Mill in 1997, has evidently done it again. Per this week's American Journal, Flannery's plans to construct 66 loft-style apartments on the fourth floor of the mill are receiving nearly unaminous praise from city officials.
And why not? Echoing City Councilor Michael Foley's affinity for an 18-hour downtown, and considering the late great urban planner Jane Jacobs's requirement of mixed uses (not only does this idea satisfy Jacobs's preference for a blend of residential and commercial development, it also incorporates her belief in the recycling of an old building for a new use) for thriving cities and neighborhoods, I think Flannery's idea is a great one.
The apartments--which will consist of studio apartments and 800-foot rentals--will probably attract childless tenants, so there shouldn't be a great uptick in education costs. And, of course, the beautiful (and quirky) mill alongside the Presumpscot is located close enough to Westbrook's downtown to enable the city's merchants to receive an economic spark from the mill's residents, without the usual trade-off of clogged streets and limited parking.
- John C.L. Morgan