HIGH POINT — The first phase of Congdon Yards will open in November with a commercial-grade woodshop “that will be the first of its kind in the Southeast and perhaps the country,” organizers announced Thursday.
Plant 7 will be the first building to open on the campus and will include a production and prototyping facility called The Generator that’s open to the public.
“This will be a makerspace on steroids, with world-class equipment that normally only the best furniture makers could afford,” said Rachel Moss, chief operating officer of Business High Point-Chamber of Commerce. “This facility will allow us to create locally based, skilled jobs.”
BHP Chamber and others involved with Congdon Yards hosted a webinar Thursday to update the progress on the downtown campus along W. English Road next to Truist Point stadium.
The project is anchored by two former hosiery mill buildings — Plant 7 and The Factory — and will include office space and equipment for existing businesses and startups, public gathering spaces and other amenities, along with existing features like the Loft wedding and event venue on the top floor of The Factory.
The principal investor in the project is David Congdon and the Earl and Kathryn Congdon Family Foundation.
The equipment for The Generator is being donated by Italian-based SCM Group USA. The plan is to make cutting-edge tools available to designers and other entrepreneurs, said Walt Ruffier, executive director of The Generator.
“The Generator will be a nonprofit organization built to empower the furniture industry, not profit from it,” he said. “From small prototype pieces to large quantity production, The Generator gives all furniture makers access to state-of-the-art equipment — not just the companies who can afford it.”
Plant 7 will also feature a community space called the Commons in what was a parking lot between it and The Factory that will include a restaurant, cafe and small workstations.
The rest of the building will include office space for established businesses and startups. Barbour Spangle Design of High Point will be one of the first tenants.
Plant 7 has undergone extensive renovations, including a 40-foot-by-30-foot hole cut in the roof to install an atrium through all four floors of the building.
“The challenge was to create a unified building,” said Louis Cherry, the lead architect for Congdon Yards, “and preserve the qualities of the industrial architecture and inject new life into it and transform it into a state-of-the-art building.”
Other future components of the campus are a proposed event center that will connect to the Factory, along with the Stickley Furniture property, which the foundation bought last month for $3.85 million.
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