On February 24-26, 2012, a team of students and faculty from the College of Environment and Design partnered with the Athens-Clarke Heritage Foundation (ACHF) and Atlanta-based Aderhold Properties to explore the redevelopment possibilities of the Southern Manufacturing Company (aka Southern Mill) property located on Oneta Street in Athens.  The mullti-day collaborative design workshop was designed to help create a new vision for one of Athens’ most unique industrial properties.  The charrette built upon an earlier ACHF Symposium held on February 4, 2012.

The Athens-Clarke Heritage Foundation, who holds a protective façade easement on the property, asked participants to think about the revitalization possibilities for the 18+ acre abandoned mill, taking into consideration pressing social needs and incorporating economic development tools with environmental best practices to create a socially sustainable project.

The charrette was led by the College’s Center for Community Design & Preservation, where the design team established an open studio. The charrette provided an opportunity for Athens’ citizens to brainstorm community needs that could best be served via the Southern Mill property, and generated conceptual illustrations and plans.

The charrette's public input session synthesized the results of multiple citizen evaluations and asked attendees to vote "dot-macracy" style on preferred scenarios.


3 areas of investigation resulted after the first day of inventory and analysis:

Best Management Practices

The charrette participants researched relevant case studies for mill rehabilitations and were able to find the core characteristics of successful redevelopment projects.  Their research was informed by community input and similar scale developments.  The group’s findings are represented through images of successful mill rehabilitations, streamlined project details and contact information.  See Comparable Projects.

Funding Opportunities

Taking into consideration the age, condition and restrictions on the property while exploring creative funding options, participants researched additional funding strategies beyond Historic Preservation tax credits, including financial solutions such as film industry tax exemptions and subsidized housing credits.  A list of federal, state and local incentives that may be options for the project emerged.  See Economic Development Tools.

Site Considerations

Focused on the needs of the community (neighborhood, city, and region) as well as those of possible developers, participants conducted an analysis of walkability, GIS data, demographics, and transportation options.  A short list of redevelopment schemes was produced that is flexible enough to meet changing needs. Final products consist of maps, conceptual master plans documents and vignettes. See Site Analysis.

Then, the Design team took input from the Symposium, community surveys, community meetings, local demographic and economic development studies, mill redevelopment case studies, and site analysis and put forward three alternatives for mixed-use redevelopment.  See Alternative Concepts.

Finally, the team put forward a suggestion of Immediate Actions that need to be addressed and/or resolved for the redevelopment of the Southern Mill property to move forward.


THANK YOU!  Local Restaurants Fuel Charrette Designers

Local Athens restaurants provided discounted or donated food for the 25+ person charrette team during their intensive design weekend. This event would not have been possible without their generosity!

Please visit and thank the Daily Groceries Co-op, Gnat’s Landing, Jimmy John’s, Marti’s at Midday, Moe’s Southwest Grill, Papa John’s and The Local Jam.