MARTINSBURG, W. Va. (WDVM) — For much of the 20th century, Interwoven Mills and the Perfection Garment Company drove Martinsburg’s economy. But when clothing production began to move overseas, the buildings in downtown Martinsburg were abandoned.
The nearly 12-acre site in downtown has sat empty for over four decades. Berkeley County Councilmember Dan Dulyea is excited that the space is finally being put to use.
“I’ve lived in Berkeley County for over 40 years and I remember in the very beginning, there was a little bit of that space being used, but it’s pretty much that for the last 40 years, waiting for somebody to come and invest in the redevelopment down there,” Dulyea said.
The Richmond, Virginia-based Monument Companies will soon begin construction on the site but will work to preserve as much of the historic building as possible. The company specializes in historic revitalization projects and Shane Farthing, Director of Economic and Community Development for the City of Martinsburg, says that while the interior of the buildings are largely empty and will have to be cleaned and updated, the exterior of the building will remain as close to the original construction as possible.
“It’s going to preserve most of the historic buildings, and really just revitalize the whole area into something that looks nice, but also looks appropriate to Martinsburg’s history and to what these buildings feel like in the community,” Farthing explained, “So we’re going to have something that isn’t new and strange that looks like what these buildings should look like.”
Martinsburg Mayor Kevin Knowles is excited at the prospect of new residents moving into the city. He hopes the new project will draw people looking to move out of busier cities and into smaller ones like Martinsburg.
“This is an opportunity for people that work in a professional atmosphere in the Baltimore, Washington area to be able to move in and enjoy everything that we have here in West Virginia and the Eastern Panhandle especially Martinsburg,” Mayor Knowles said, excitedly.
The old Interwoven Mill and Perfection Garment site is currently undergoing preparation for construction. Farthing says that the remediation process, or the evaluation and correction of environmental damage, is set to begin soon. Then the buildings will be transformed into over 300 apartment units and 5000 square feet of commercial space.