Thursday, December 26, 2013

The Artistic Transformation of the Once-Industrial Jones Falls Valley

Once a center of industry, the Jones Falls Valley is now the epicenter of adaptive reuse of historic mill buildings in Baltimore.  The recently restored Union Mill houses 56 apartments, 25,000 square feet of office space for non-profit organizations, and a fantastic coffee shop.  More on the coffee shop in a minute.  Developer and owner Seawall Development offers discounts for teachers both here and at its Miller's Court apartments in Remington, as a way to "honor educators" by providing them with quality affordable apartments where they can live among like-minded individuals.  Both properties also feature amenities for teachers, such as copy rooms, and waiting lists!
Artifact Coffee is the centerpiece of Union Mill and a beautiful spot for coffee, espresso, tea, breakfast, lunch, or dessert. 
Artifact Coffee also features a market wall, where one can purchase products made by the owners' Woodberry Pantry, such as Snake Oil Hot Sauce (good with oysters, I'm told) and Caramel Apple Sauce.
Restored in 1990 and on the National Register of Historic Places, Meadow Mill once housed the London Fog factory.  Today, a variety of artisans, offices, boutique businesses such as Mouth Party Caramels, the Stone Mill Bakery wholesale operation, and the Meadow Mill Athletic Club call Meadow Mill home.  Meadow Mill, Union Mill, and Clipper Mill (featured below) are all easily accessible to downtown Baltimore via the light rail, and are within walking distance of Hampden.
Baltimore has a cadre of creative and talented professionals who can really make these mills shine, from the architects and designers to the developers and the contractors.  Many tenants, too, display exemplary artistry within their spaces, from small creative touches to lighting that perfectly captures the romance and excitement of a special occasion dinner, such as at Woodberry Kitchen in Clipper Mill (pictured above).  While it wins accolades for outstanding food (such as one of Bon Appetit's Top Ten Best New Restaurants in America in 2009), "WK" also offers diners a rustic yet sophisticated atmosphere. 
Like most of the restored mills, Clipper Mill attracts a lot of artisans and businesses in the creative industries.  Corradetti Glass makes a statement with its sign painted directly onto the historic brick.
Clipper Mill also includes condominiums (pictured here) and town homes. 
Located just south of the Clipper Mill, Union Mill, Meadow Mill area, Birroteca is one of the hottest restaurants in town.  As mentioned in a previous post, the upscale yet recognizable Italian food (think prosciutto bruschetta, saffron risotto, and mussels pizza), festive atmosphere, and craft beers make Birroteca a "must visit."  Multiple times. 
Mill No. 1, the most recently restored mill building in the Jones Falls Valley, offers 92 unique apartments (with large windows, high ceilings, water views, reclaimed wood counter tops, and many with original hardwood floors).  The water views are no joke.  Seriously.  Check out their website.
Developed by Terra Nova Ventures, Mill No. 1 will soon offer two restaurants without waterfront seating.
Though not a former mill, the Stieff Silver building deserves recognition in this post as a former manufacturing plant transformed into great office space about ten years ago.  You cannot see it in this picture, but the lights on the sign letters are red and green, in honor of the holiday season.  How spirited!
The Mill Centre building has housed a mix of tenants - again, mostly engaged in creative pursuits, from architects and writers to craftspeople - since its 1987 renovation.
Located farther north than the other mill buildings in this post, the Mt. Washington Mill also deserves a mention, due to the broad commercial appeal of its tenants, particularly Whole Foods and Starbucks.

Developed by Himmelrich Associates, Mt. Washington Mill also houses offices and specialty shops, such as Wine Works and Amazing Glaze. 


  1. Thanks for sharing. I have not been near the Union Mill area, but it looks nice.


  2. Dia - I am sorry for not seeing your comment earlier. The entire mill area is very cool. I am going to take a look at your blog now - it seems like something I will be interested in!

  3. Thanks for sharing these videos of kitchen renovation and great work done with creative ideas.! Best contractor in baltimore

  4. Heyyy very nice post..

    Thanx for sharing Beautiful Images and good information...

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