Savage Mill renovation is a continuing success NORTH LAUREL/ SAVAGE

December 24, 1992|By Jackie Powder | Jackie Powder,Staff Writer

Most retail developers would love to have Jay Winer's problem.

Mr. Winer, the developer of the Savage Mill, has learned that some customers have complained they don't have enough time to explore all the craft, art and antique stores at the complex in one day.

To accommodate shoppers and attract new business to the mill, Mr. Winer is planning to build an inn and conference center on the last remaining 4-acre piece of property at the site.

And while he's at it, he hopes to renovate the mill's old wheel house and boiler house, which have deteriorated over the years.

The plans are the latest in the evolution of the Savage Mill, which opened in 1986 with the renovated New Weave Room. Since then, the renovations, which incorporate the original architecture the mill, have continued in phases.

The Cotton Shed Building opened in 1988 and the artists' studios and the Great Room banquet facility were completed this fall.

Judging by the success of the Great Room, which has 80 bookings in the next 18 months, Mr. Winer predicts that there's a market for an inn and conference center.

"It has to be something very special and unusual and something compatible with what's going on at the mill," said Mr. Winer, a general partner in the Savage Mill Limited Partnership. "We're trying to make it a collection of unique things in a unique place."

Mr. Winer estimates that the new construction and both restorations should be completed within five years. He said he can't predict the cost of the project.

The Savage Mill property includes several buildings that operated as a textile mill from 1822 to 1947. Canvas used for ship sails, war supplies and movie backdrops was produced at the mill.

Winer said he's committed to maintaining the historical character of the property.

He envisions the inn as a bed and breakfast with 20 to 25 rooms.

The boiler house, one of the remaining buildings used in the textile mill operation, sits over the Little Patuxent River on piles. Mr. Winer plans to renovate the building, which contains the original boilers, and turn it into the Boiler House restaurant.

"That dream has been part of the plan since we started the renovations of the mill itself," Mr. Winer said.

Also included in the renovation plans is the Wheel House, which contains the original water wheel that was used to provide hydroelectric power to the village of Savage. Built in 1916, the Wheel House is in "terrible disrepair," Mr. Winer said, although the wheel and electric panel are intact.

Mr. Winer said he hopes to renovate the house as a historical attraction by restoring the wheel to show how it was used to produce power.

"This renovation can't be adapted for commercial use, but it has tremendous historical value," Mr. Winer said.

To proceed with the project, the zoning of the potential inn site must be changed to accommodate a commercial use. Currently, it's zoned for residential use.

Mr. Winer said county officials have responded favorably to his proposal, and he plans to testify before the zoning board next month to request that the zoning change be included in the comprehensive rezoning of the east county.


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