Saylesville Mill apartments nearing completion

Saylesville Mill apartments nearing completion

New windows and a freshened-up facade have completely transformed this former mill building in Saylesville, which will soon feature apartments. (Breeze photo by Nicole Dotzenrod)

LINCOLN – The transformation of a vacant historic mill building in Lincoln into affordable apartments is nearing completion, despite the challenges brought by the pandemic.

Last summer, the Saylesville Mill building under development at 90 Industrial Circle was engulfed in ivy and weeds, with mattresses and other items strewn about the property.

Since earning approval from the town in 2018, the property has undergone a steady transformation, with developer Dakota Partners injecting new vibrancy into a mostly forgotten piece of Lincoln’s industrial past.

The building under construction at the corner of Walker Street and Industrial Circle was formerly part of the Sayles Bleacheries, founded in 1847 by William Sayles.

According to the Rhode Island Historical Society, increasing demand for the company's textile products led to numerous additions to the property, resulting in the present-day collection of interconnected mill complex in Saylesville, named after the founding family of the Sayles mill village.

The first phase of the $14.6 million project involves the mill’s 1860 and 1912 storehouse and packing building, a two-story brick building with an attached one-story wing.

Work on the 42,000-square -oot development began last summer. When complete, the long-vacant building will feature 45 mixed-income apartment units.

According to information provided by Dakota Partners, the two-story building “with handsome Italianate structure will feature a mix of loft and flat-style, one- and two-bedroom apartment homes,” preserving the historic characteristics of the building and allowing them to “re-emerge as unique showpieces within each apartment.”

Company representatives say they’re hoping to wrap up the first 45 units this fall.

The second phase of the development will be rehabbing nearby 60 Industrial Circle into an additional 22 apartment units. In total, the project will bring 67 new apartments to the mill complex, which will be deemed affordable under Rhode Island Housing standards.

Dakota Partners also submitted a separate application to build a new 72-unit low- and moderate-income apartment complex in Manville behind St. James Church. Called “Lincoln Village,” the project is moving through Lincoln’s planning process.