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Historic Stehli & Co. Silk Mill undergoing repair, renovation

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Lancaster County carpenters John Nissley, left, and Rob Flanagan use original hardware to secure a beam at the former Stehli & Co. Silk Mill in Manheim Township. Photo/Amy Spangler
Lancaster County carpenters John Nissley, left, and Rob Flanagan use original hardware to secure a beam at the former Stehli & Co. Silk Mill in Manheim Township. Photo/Amy Spangler

This morning, cranes added a new slice of history to the former Stehli & Co. Silk Mill, placing wooden beams reclaimed from a building in Boston onto the Manheim Township facility's roof.

Developer Matt Bupp, of York-based Lenders Group, said putting a new roof is one of the steps in redeveloping the large building at 701 Martha Ave. He bought the beams from Antique Lumber Co., which has its main offices in Massachusetts and a mill in Pequea Township, Lancaster County.

"Our other option was to buy brand-new beams from the West Coast that would take almost a month to get here," Bupp said. "Real men recycle."

According to Business Journal records, Bupp bought the property with a silent financial partner in 2007 for $1.35 million with plans of redeveloping the century-old industrial site.

The complex once housed the longest silk mill in the world, and after demolition of unusable or unsound buildings still has more than 200,000 square feet of space. It was on the Historic Preservation Trust of Lancaster County's list of most-threatened historic properties in 2012, but this year the trust reported that it had removed the mill from the list because of Bupp's plans.

Bupp said he also plans to replace all 2,500 windows, clean the masonry and install new gutters. The final use or uses for the building has not yet been determined, but he said, "We've been pretty confident that Lancaster is a very strong market."

The repairs will cost several million dollars, according to Bupp. Companies working on the project include York Roofing Inc. and Carney Engineering Group Inc.

"The mill is probably the largest urban redevelopment project in Lancaster," Bupp said, noting that he has long been interested in the market but this is the first time he has progressed as far as purchasing a site in the county. Bupp also has some other redevelopment projects in the works in Central Pennsylvania.

Heather Stauffer

Heather Stauffer

Heather Stauffer covers Lancaster County, nonprofits, education and health care. Have a tip or question for her? Email her at heathers@cpbj.com. Follow her on Twitter, @StaufferCPBJ.

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