The Windsor Mill
Owner: Blue Ocean Enterprises LLC
Lead Design Firm: VFLA
General Contractor: Saunders Heath Construction
Civil Engineer: Northern Engineering
Structural Engineer: KL&A
MEP Engineer: 20/20 Engineering
Electrical Engineer: APS Inc.
The historic Windsor Mill has suffered many misfortunes during its 120-year existence, including a fire nine years after its original construction, damage from a tornado in 2008, which left it vacant and abandoned for a decade, and then near destruction by arson in 2017, only a few months shy of completing its rehabilitation.
The arson damaged the structure to the point that the project was no longer considered a historic renovation but new construction instead, and a project that needed to meet current building codes. Though the fire was a major setback, the team persisted with restoration due to the project’s importance as a catalyst for future development in Windsor. The project evolved into a two-story, 24,000-sq-ft facility consisting of three buildings: the mill, which bore the brunt of the damage from the fire, as well as the annex and the silo, which suffered little damage.
Fortunately, during the restoration and before the arson, some of the existing brick and timber from the original Windsor Mill had already been removed and stored at an offsite location. The design and construction teams worked together to use every original beam, brick and piece of wood they could salvage. The entire ceiling and some of the timber support structure were disassembled and reinstalled with a mix of new timber. Board-form concrete was used for all exposed foundations to replicate material used in the original construction. Siding types from the original mill were incorporated, and high ceilings help the two-story structure achieve the same massing as the former four-story building.
The masonry contractor was able to seamlessly repair walls suffering from massive amounts of missing bricks. In addition, walls where new doors, windows and ductwork were cut through brick and stone show no visible difference between old and new. The restored facility reopened in fall 2019 and houses a restaurant, offices and event space.