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bites of bull city

THE AUTHOR IS

THE CREATOR AND

WRITER OF THE LOCAL DURHAM FOOD AND RESTAURANT NEWS

BLOG, BITES OF BULL CITY

A Golden Era

(BITESOFBULLCITY.COM).

B Y A M B ER WAT S ON

G

OLDEN BELT HAS CHANGED a lot over the years. Once home to a successful cotton mill and bag mill tied to the textile and tobacco industry, the campus sat vacant for many years after the industry’s downturn. It was donated to the Durham Housing Authority in 1996. Since then, innovative steps have been taken as different entrepreneurs and property owners took hold: Renovating one of the buildings as a business incubator; creating affordable space for the arts; and adding studios, apartments, retail and office space. In 2016, New York-based LRC Properties utilized historic tax credits to embark on a complete renovation of the northern portion of the campus, including the 118-year-old cotton mill and power plant, uniting the final pieces of the complex. The mission now is to transform Golden Belt into something resembling a town square for East Durham, and it’s well on its way, providing creative space, large venues and exciting events for all ages.

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The unique architecture of the mill lends itself beautifully to creative uses, whether that’s mixed-media arts, brewing beer, teaching yoga, designing a multi-acre solar farm or hosting events. Its creative vibe cannot be denied. The new Mill No. 1 development includes new, affordable artists’ workshops as well as a classroom and gallery programmed by Golden Belt artists. In addition to the individual studios, Golden Belt is home to a new gallery and workshop space for the Durham Art Guild. Golden Belt is also home to Strata Solar, a solar power provider; WillowTree, an app development company; Moshi Moshi salon; Dogstar Tattoo; and Bikram Yoga. There is also about 200,000 square feet of office space, and building No. 6 is home to 37 residential loft spaces. One of the most recent additions is Asheville-based brewery HiWire; outside their doors sits SummerStage, specifically designed to showcase music and performing arts, most of which is free and open to the public. The campus is committed to providing a community resource through no-cost, diverse and enriched fine arts and performing arts with the help of Cicely Mitchell, artistic director of SummerStage and co-founder of the Art of Cool Project. With Cicely’s help, SummerStage creates events for everyone: artists, young professionals, local families and health gurus. On Wednesdays, Steven Munoz hosts SuperJam Sessions – free, open jam sessions for musicians of all ages and skill sets. Every Sunday, you can grab a seat on the lawn and enjoy good vibes, food trucks and a cold brew from Hi-Wire during Brunches

Profile for Shannon Media

Durham Magazine August 2019  

Durham Magazine August 2019