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What exactly is happening with Windsor’s iconic Nova Scotia Textiles building?

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. — As far as Annapolis Valley landmarks go, the former Nova Scotia Textiles building, also known as Mill Island, is kind of hard to miss.

Its crumbling brick exterior and smashed windows has become a symbol of nostalgia and industrial decline.

But what does the future hold for the structure?

The building was previously listed for sale by Cushman Wakefield Atlantic, a commercial real estate company, for just under $1 million.

However, Bill MacAvoy, managing director for CWA, said they were unable to find a successful bidder.

“It’s owned by Moskowitz Capital — they did have us do some marketing for it,” MacAvoy said. “Had a little bit of interest but nothing very serious. We’ve been off the file for six months. We don’t know their future plans.”  

MacAvoy said they were given a task to sell the iconic structure but were unable to complete it.

The Valley Journal-Advertiser has reached out to Toronto-based Moskowitz Capital but haven’t received comment yet.

Failed redevelopment

There was an effort in the mid-2000s to completely re-develop the building, which was originally built in 1881, but the economic recession of 2008 ended the lofty plans.

The idea for the re-developed site included a condominium and retail space.

Developers for the site, named The Bridge at Mill Island, Kevin Keefe and Terry Hines, had listed the property for $3.1 million after the failed project, and there was some interest from buyers, but a sale never materialized.

The Valley Journal-Advertiser has also reached out to Terry Hines and Kevin Keefe for comment, but haven’t received feedback yet.

Upkeep of the structure has fluctuated in the years since, with new windows being installed, but many have since been smashed.

When reached for comment, the RCMP said they have not seen an increase in the number of complaints of vandalism regarding the old textile plant.

As a way to potentially breathe new life into the project, the Town of Windsor is looking to pass a Commercial Development District zone in the coming months that would likely include the Mill Island property within its boundaries.

A CDD would provide a tax rebate on new development/renovations on properties within the zone that would see their assessment value rise, spread out over 10 years instead of all at once. The policy is seen by councillors and staff as a way to bolster development in the town

Mill Island remains a potentially viable business opportunity, located right along Highway 101, near Windsor’s downtown, and a landmark to boot. But it remains to be seen if any investment comes to re-develop the site or if the structure will have to be torn down if it becomes dangerous or unsightly.

Artist Terra Spencer made a song about the iconic building called Cotton Mill, which was posted to Youtube, and features video inside the structure. 

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