State preservation awards for two Milford projects: mill and armory

Union Leader Correspondent
May 29. 2014 9:57PM
The exterior of the 1870 mill in November shows it state prior to the completion of renovations to create 50 affordable housing apartments in Milford. The first 13 of 50 tenants have already moved into the new apartments the Pine Valley Loft. (KATHLEEN BAGLIO HUMPHREYS/Union Leader Correspondent)

MILFORD — During its silver anniversary, the New Hampshire Preservation Alliance recognized seven projects in the Granite State for outstanding achievement in preservation.

Two Milford restoration projects were among the outstanding recipients and recognized at a ceremony in Concord on May 13.

The restoration of the Pine Valley Mill in Milford and the New Hampshire Army National Guard Readiness Center on Osgood Road have undergone construction improvements but kept historical integrity in the restoration process.

Dakota Partners Inc. and Bank of America CDC were applauded for the rehabilitation of the Hillsborough Mills for the Pine Valley Lofts, while the State of New Hampshire’s Milford Readiness Center won for outstanding design of a new addition to a historic building.

“The awards honor individuals, organizations and corporations for work or projects in the categories of restoration, rehabilitation and stewardship as well as advocacy, planning and education,” said Jennifer Goodman, executive director for New Hampshire Preservation Alliance.

Formerly known as the Milford Armory, the Milford Readiness Center had lacked room for its current needs.

“We received funding to construct a 6,000-square-foot addition at our Milford Readiness Center which added 50 percent additional floor space. We went through the design process and through a collaborative team approach, the addition was placed to the side, not the front due to the fact it’s a historic armory,” said Colonel David J. Mikolaities, N.H. Army National Guard, Construction and Facilities Management officer.

The staff worked with the State Historic Preservation officer and a design consultant to determine the best approach to solve space issues and keep the historical values.

“It was great and biggest thing is it added much needed classroom space and administration space. Those couple of components allows the company to have the requirements for what they are authorized to do,” said Mikolaities.

Milford armory is home to C Company, 3/172nd Infantry Battalion, one of the most decorated and most deployed units.

In December the soldiers received the Valorous Unit Award for their heroism in Afghanistan during a recent Operation Enduring Freedom deployment.

“The addition provided appropriate facilities for which they deserve for their actions overseas,” Mikolaities said.

On the other side of town, near the Wilton line, the Pine Valley Mill was a semi-abandoned old mill that had just a few commercial tenants.

The main section was built in 1870.

“It was a historic renovation that we renovated it into 50 apartments. In the process we replaced all the windows to make them historically correct. We improved the exterior as well as the interior and worked very closely with the historic consultant and the park services. It was completely renovated and looks very nice,” said Dakota Partner President Roberto Arista.

A 144-year-old mill poses many challenges to renovate.

“We had many surprises. One surprise was there was an area under the mill that had water running through it and we didn’t know that until we saw the rotten boards we pulled them up,” said Arista.

To date, 13 tenants have moved into the affordable housing apartments and another 14 will be moving in by the end of June.

There are still a few apartments available. “We hope to be filled soon,” Arista said.

“The one and two bedrooms apartments are unique with tall ceilings,” said Arista.

The bottom level has commercial tenants that include a hair salon, dog groomer, art studio, locksmith, mill worker, a microphone company and a small high-tech business.

“We are extremely pleased and surprised we won the award,” said Arista.

“Anytime that a building with the historical significance and architecture like the Mill is preserved, it is something the town is proud of. There are many references to preserving and protecting Milford’s historic character in the town’s master plan. The fact that a building, such as the Mill, was adapted for needed affordable housing, which is another town master plan goal, makes the project even more significant,” said Bill Parker, Milford Community Development director.

Dakota Partners is considering building additional apartments in the vacant lot across the street but would need a permit and zoning variance.

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