In 2009, Pacolet Milliken Enterprises, Inc. asked McMillan Pazdan Smith and Pond Ecos to develop a conceptual master plan for lands surrounding the current Milliken & Company plant in the New Holland community near Gainesville, GA. The client’s vision was to revitalize a historic community and foster growth by creating a more livable, economically vibrant place to sustainably meet the needs of Greater Gainesville. In keeping with the values of the Milliken family and its family of companies, the plan was collaborative, flexible, pragmatic and ecologically sound.
The main challenge was the reconnecting of a community whose once self-sufficient identity had, over time, been dissected, partially developed or sold into private ownership. Specific challenges included vast differences in usage, topography, hydrology, vegetation and opportunities for connection of the separate parcels within the study area. Barriers such as railroads, major highways, slivers of private development and segregated mill operations eliminated some options for connection. Through site investigations and engagements, the team and the City of Gainesville worked together to strengthen remaining connections.
The design study led to the identification of districts and brainstorming of potential uses. While retail and multi-family development opportunities were being pursued on the northeast and southwest ends of the New Holland community, the Mill Site and East Mill Site remained areas with much potential, but no clear direction. The design team proposed appropriate uses for the districts identified for revitalization and developed specific concept designs for the East Mill site.
As a result, the comprehensive master plan included the revised version of New Holland Market, a master plan of the East Mill Site and case studies and perspective vignettes, which gave visual interpretation to the proposed concepts.