Mills to be reborn as inn, condos, offices

The adaptive reuse of a large portion of the Monadnock Mills on the Sugar River in Claremont will be the latest collaboration between two of New Hampshire’s well-known hospitality developers.

Restaurateur Alex Ray, owner of the Common Man family of restaurants, and Rusty McLear, developer of the Inns at Mill Falls and Church Landing Inn in Meredith, will be developing an as-of-yet unnamed 130,000-square-foot restaurant/inn project under the partnership Woven Label LLC.

“This location will provide a beautiful urban setting for a New England inn, with the Sugar River as a focal point,” said McLear. “The buildings themselves are architecturally interesting with a history that tells the story not only of Claremont, but also of New Hampshire.”

According to Ray, “the location makes sense on a number of levels due to the architectural and industrial history of Claremont and the proximity to Interstate 91 along with tourist destinations in Ascutney and Cornish. A riverfront restaurant combined with a quality inn will provide services for residents and visitors alike.”

Ray and McLear have collaborated on other restaurant/inn projects in Meredith, including the Inn at Church Landing, which houses Ray’s Lakehouse restaurant. McLear also is the owner and operator of the 1,250-passenger replica steamship, M.S. Mount Washington.

Originally constructed in the late-1800s, three buildings comprise the 130,000-square-foot Monadnock Mills development. The lower level of the Woven Label building will have a 200-seat Common Man restaurant, featuring an outdoor terrace with views of the falls. The inn will have six to eight rooms in the upper level of the Woven Label building and 22 to 24 rooms in the lower level of the Wainshal building, with the remaining floors as offices. The Peterson building is being developed by John Illick of Sugar River Mills Redevelopment Co. as market-rate condominiums.

David McIntyre of Architectural Studio in Enfield is the architect of record, and Conneston Construction Inc., Laconia, is the general contractor for the inn/restaurant portion of the project. UK Architects in Hanover is the architect and ReArch, Burlington, Vt., is the general contractor for the Peterson building condos.

A pedestrian bridge also is being constructed over the Sugar River to the inn, and a number of public works projects will also take place, including enhancement of streets, sidewalks, landscaping, parking and utilities to provide needed infrastructure.

The inn/restaurant complex is expected to be completed by October 2006.

The Claremont Planning and Development Department has been working with the developers on the mills project “for some time,” said Anthony Lyons, the department’s director. “The quality of the project being discussed by Woven Label LLC is exactly what we anticipated from the mill redevelopment project when the teams were chosen.”

Meanwhile, Fulling Mill Fly Fishing LLC has signed a lease with the Claremont Development Authority to open a facility on River Road in the city.

The subsidiary of British company Fulling Mill Ltd., was formed in 2005 to distribute fly fishing tackle on behalf of the Orvis Company, a leading U.S. distributor of quality fly fishing tackle. Fulling Mill will exclusively supply to Orvis flies and fly selections for sale through a multi-channel U.S. distribution network. Fulling Mill is scheduled to begin operation at its Claremont location sometime in October.

“We viewed a number of potential sites in New Hampshire for our company, and felt that Claremont offered easy access for distribution and was convenient in terms of our relationship with Orvis,” said Barry Unwin, managing director of Fulling Mill. “The site itself also interested us because it was unique and located near the Connecticut River.”

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