There’s a New Mill in Town: Living On the Jones Falls

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Hot House: Mill No. 1, 3000 Falls Road, Baltimore 21211

Repurposed brick cotton mill, circa 1873, with views over the Jones Falls.  Eighty-four luxury apartments,  850-1,500 sq. ft.   Studios, 1 and 2 bedrooms – some with lofts – and two 3 bedroom penthouses. Includes fitness center, infinity pool overlooking the river, two restaurants, office space, garage parking, building manager in residence:  $1,200 to $3,000/mo.

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What: David Tufaro’s team at Terra Nova Ventures has (mostly) completed its much-anticipated renovation of historic Mill No. 1, and it’s now open for business. One of several textile-producing mills built along the Jones Falls in the nineteenth century, Mill No.1 spans the river, two buildings connected by an enclosed bridge. A second, open ironwork bridge has been added.  It’s a dramatic setting, and Tufaro, together with Ellicott City architects Alexander Design Studio (who designed the Roland Park Library addition) has taken full advantage of it.  The design makes the most of every inch of river frontage.  The restaurants, one of which is likely to be Donna’s, will have outdoor terraces above the Jones Falls. There’s a plan for an environmental classroom, to make use of the Falls as a teaching tool for school children.  Residents have prime water views from public areas, including the infinity pool, as well as from many of the apartments.  The river itself has been cleaned up and replanted for several hundred feet along the shoreline, with a $100,000 grant from Baltimore City  –part of an effort to improve the Jones Falls basin. A great blue heron makes his home here.

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Inside the factory, the industrial aesthetic as been nicely done and ‘locally sourced’. The old pine floors are polished, but scars and burns from factory equipment remain.  Huge wooden beams crisscross the ceilings, and many of the wooden surfaces — shelving, countertops and furniture – have been crafted from heavy building timbers. Local artisans were used whenever possible.  Each of the 84 apartments is a little different, because builders had to work around the iron support columns used in the factory. The quirkiness of the building includes some lovely architectural details  — like the extra-deep window sills throughout. Although the apartments are not large considering the scale of the building, they feel luxurious, with dark woods and high grade finishes. There is a large and beautiful third floor common room, with a kitchen, farm tables and television, for larger gatherings.  Currently the building is 60% leased and occupied, with tenants moving in ‘every day’.

Where: Mill No. 1 is on the west side of Falls Road, about a half mile south of Birroteca, across from the Mill Centre. There’s an entrance directly into the parking garage from Falls Road, and a driveway behind the building, accessed though a second entrance. A crosswalk across Falls Road will soon make it safer to take a stroll up Chestnut Street into Hampden.  You can hear the waterfall through the trees, but tempting as it is to get out and hike the river, there are no walking trails here. Bicycle’s sweep down Falls Road, though — residents  can and do bike to work downtown, and there’s also a trail entrance nearby at the Steiff Silver building on Wyman Park Drive. Your nearest grocery shopping here is at the 41st Street Giant, just 1. 2 miles away. The Avenue in Hampden is even closer.

Why: Historic charm. Industrial river valley makes for a unique setting. Not everyone wants to be in Canton.

Why Not: Parking has potential to be a problem. But you’ll have your free spot – why worry?

Would Suit: Young and fancy free – average age of the tenants is 34.

NB: Other than a great-looking sign on I83, Mill No. 1 is not doing much advertising. Information and photos are on their Facebook page.

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