Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Mountain and Lake Views from Windsor Mill

Take a moment to imagine The Windsor Mill, once renovated.  It is a beautiful spring evening, and you and your family want to enjoy rooftop dining with spectacular views at sunset.  As the sun slowly drops behind the mountains, the sky turns brilliant colors of pink, orange, and deep blue.  As you look north, the Windsor Lake is reflecting the same colors.  This is the dream of Ron Lauer and several developers as the earliest stages of renovating The Mill into the greatest entertainment and dining experience in Windsor get underway.  Hopefully, in a couple of years, this will be a reality!

The third and fourth floors of the Windsor Mill overlook spectacular views of the mountains. Ron Lauer, pictured, points out that the views offer the most awe-inspiring sunsets too. The plan is to restore the top two floors, perhaps for rooftop dining with a view and party rental space for the town of Windsor.

Another spectacular view from the third floor, facing north west, on Main Street. The old train depot is visible, as is Windsor Lake and the mountains! The Mill, once restored, will be the highest landmark in Windsor, and the only facility that overlook downtown Windsor, the mountains, and overlook the lake.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

The Windsor Mill is on the National Register of Historic Places.  Often questions are asked regarding the meaning of being on the register, and there is no one simple answer.  First a property is nominated, and goes through a review process on the state level, then the National Park Service, the overseeing United States department for all historic sites on the register – the park service falls under the US Department of the Interior. If approved, the site is deemed to be a district, site, building, structure, or object of significance in American history and culture.

Besides the honor of the recognition, a site on the Historic Register is eligible for federal projects, licensing, and funding, as well as a 20% tax credit for income producing sites.  

A full outline of the National Register of Historic Places program can be found at http://www.nps.gov/history/nr/regulations.htm

Regarding changes to the Windsor Mill, the property owner is allowed to make changes and upgrades to the property.  For upcoming projects at the Mill, with the use of federal and state grants, a review process and approval must be made by The National Park Service.  

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Holtkamp Planning Selected for Windsor Mill Feasibility Study

Holtkamp Planning, located in Austin Texas, has been selected to head the feasibility study, the first phase of a city-wide initiative, with the cooperation of Ron Lauer, the Downtown Development Authority, and other city planners, for the preservation and redevelopment of the Windsor Mill as a vital entertainment and retail complex for downtown.  Holtkamp has a abundant portfolio of success stories. Here is Holtkamp's introduction to the project:

The City of Windsor has a truly unique landmark to further its vision for downtown in the historic Windsor Mill. The property represents both a significant parcel of underutilized space and a significant opportunity to further the future of downtown Windsor. If developed thoughtfully, the mill will be a capstone project to current downtown revitalization efforts. We are proud to submit this proposal to create a destination that will celebrate the unique heritage of Windsor while enhancing the economic vitality and quality of life for current and future residents.
Our Approach
We take a collaborative approach to our planning that respects the site, its place in the larger context of the city, the property owner, the neighbors, and the community as a whole. High priority is placed on highest and best use both economically and from a design standpoint. Successful redevelopment will ensure economic vitality for the community overall giving residents ownership of the process. We will work closely with all parties to develop a plan that is economically viable and enhances the sense of community.
Subsequently, our team will have two primary goals: to respect the inherent character of the property, and to respect the community and its values. Specifically, our goal for the Mill will be to focus on its historic significance both from an architectural standpoint and as a regional and civic landmark. Our intention would be to strengthen and amplify the unique architectural features of the building and it’s specific location as a gateway and center for Windsor’s current revitalization efforts.
Respect for a building’s history goes beyond simply a strict adherence to the guidelines for redevelopment of the National Historic Preservation Act; to us, it means embracing the historic character of the structure and creating a vision that will both celebrate and re-animate. The Mill is an iconic building that represents the history of Windsor. Its architecture and building materials showcase the transition to the more durable, lasting architecture of steel and brick. Few buildings of this type were built in Colorado, and fewer remain. We intend to honor the spirit of those who built the Mill through a plan that highlights the character and integrity of the structure and the history it represents for Windsor.
Likewise, the location of the building provides an opportunity to reconnect several sections of downtown Windsor that currently have no center. Our intention would be to study the potential for use of this building as an anchor for future densification and connection with the downtown core in an effort to recreate the sense of place now lacking. 

High level study of the building and its place in both the minds of the community as well as its place in the landscape is paramount to success. As such, we begin every project with fresh perspective, focusing on the unique aspects of the building and community to ensure the solution reflects citizen-driven value and priority.

Holtkamp's portfolio includes these properties:

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Interior View of Mill Entrance (North Side)

The interior of the Mill features original brick, light fixtures, and rich textures.  This is a view of the room and window overlooking Windsor Lake.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

South Side of Windsor Milling and Elevator Company

 Stunning view of the south side of the Windsor Mill. Even with the loss of 3 floors after the tornado of May 2008, The Mill is still a stunning vision.  Plans are underway to restore the lost 3 floors.  Over the last several years, steel beams and bracing have been added to reinforce the damaged areas of the structure.  Since 2008, Ron Lauer has invested over a million dollars in his preservation efforts to stabilize, restore, and preserve the landmark.  Below is a closer view of the damaged areas, with exposed steel beams that were added to reinforce the buildings foundation. This view is from the southwest facing Windsor Lake.

Unknown Apparatus - Room East of Front Entrance - Windsor Mill

The exact usage of this apparatus is unknown; however, it is an interesting element in the building, located in the room connecting the main entrance to the large room south of the entrance.  The photograph demonstrates the wonderful textures and original exposed brick used in the northern most rooms of the Windsor Mill.

The Mill Elevator

This is the elevator used in the Mill in the early 20th century.   The elevator is still is operational, though not advised.  The elevator is located to the west of the front entrance room.

Windsor Mill Collaborative and Ron Lauer Committee Meeting

Today, the Windsor Mill Collaborative is interviewing two potential groups for a feasibility study regarding the Mill.  With the intent of transparency, the following statement and document was delivered to the group from the owner of the Mill, Ron Lauer.

I want to thank the committee and all involved for the invitation to this meeting. With all sincerity, please understand my initial concern and surprise that so much effort, time, expense and work have been spent on behalf of my property. However, I am encouraged that there are so many of us on the same page. The value - historically and economically - to Windsor, regarding the Windsor Milling and Elevator Company building, is exceptional! I purchased the building in 1997 with this belief. I look forward to working with our community and any new partners to accomplish the preservation, conservation, and redevelopment of The Windsor Mill. My intention has always been to save this amazing landmark for our community, and for it to function as an economical and historical touchstone and centerpiece. I want to formally state my intention for cooperation, and to enter these discussions with the greatest hope and open mind. As stated before, we all have the same goals; of course, as the project proposal and extensive review by the Windsor Mill Collaborative has only recently been brought to my attention, I have a few questions recommended for response.

How does the committee and the architectural or consultant teams envision a partnership with the owner (Ron Lauer) in the future restoration and redevelopment of the Mill?

Is this a partnership with the City of Windsor or the Windsor Mill Collaborative, or the DDA?

At what time would each party and their respective attorneys begin the process of establishing the terms of our partnership?

What limitations or restrictions to owner (Ron Lauer) might be requested from the creation of a legal partnership?

Additionally, since I have been planning and implementing strategies for opening a brewery, restaurant, and other ventures at The Mill, if plans according to The Windsor Mill Collaborative are to proceed, what is the acceptable time frame for Ron Lauer and the Windsor Mill trust to halt current planning to afford the Windsor Mill Collaborative ample time for their plan to come to fruition and/or dissolve any intentions for proceeding with their plans?

For images and more information about The Windsor Milling and Elevator Company, please visit:

Architectural Details: Below Ground Floor Window & Basement

Over the last century, many windows were bricked in, and others boarded up after the 2008 Tornado.  Here is a view of one of the original windows for a below ground floor, on the west side of the building.

Here is a collection of the basement floor in the Mill.  Mr. Lauer has tunneled out much of the basement, creating a new floor that can be utilized for a cellar bar and more.
View of the modernized electrical and heating room in the basement.

View of the modernized electrical and heating room.

View of the basement floor.

Underground view of new beams implementing after the 2008 Tornado.

Example of the use of stacked plank system of construction underneath the Mill.

Underground pillars, as well as modern system implemented to assist steadying the foundation.

Underground pillars and foundation of the Mill.

Detail of original brick and stone work underground at the Mill

View of the alley corridor for moving and processing grain into flour.

Original light fixture in one of the large alleys for moving grain.

One of the original grain corridors from the earliest era of the building.  Grain would pass through these pipes.

The basement contains areas ideal for a basement brewery / bar that will be utilized in the redevelopment of the Mill as a community entertainment complex.

Beams and posts as part of the buildings sturdy foundation.

An example of the many textures of the building and underground.

Another view of a pulley wheel used to deliver grain, via pipes, originally with an intricate system of underground railroad cars.

View of steel beams and stone used throughout the basement.  Post storm renovation has utilized many steel beams to shore up the building's foundation.

Original copper piping used in the Mill.

Another view of a group of the pulley wheels used in the flour mill. Wonderful elements to be reincorporated into the updated and renovated Mill as decorative items.

View of basement, original pulley wheels stacked to the left, showing the dug out area by Ron Lauer of the main room in the basement.  Facing east, to the right is the new electrical room, completely renovated that runs modern, state of the art electrical wiring throughout  building.

The Historic View from the Windsor Mill, Colorado

Photograph of Windsor Grade School, ca. 1940, prior to the 1970 Town Hall redevelopment.

2014 view of Town Hall, formerly Park School, as seen from the top of Windsor Mill.

2014 view of downtown Windsor, after revitalization.

Windsor Lake, as seen from the north side of Windsor Mill.
1903 street view of Main Street, Windsor, Colorado
Windsor in the early 1900's was a developing community anchored by the sugar beet industry and the Windsor Flour Mill.  The rapid development and growth created the need for schools, stores, and roads.
The downtown  in the early 1900's was booming, and telegraph poles and recently created brick structures were divided by plank sidewalks and an unpaved Main Street.

Behind the Mill was the newly built High School; but, by 1918, the population explosion in Windsor created the need for a new school. Converted the a grammar school, the Park School, at 3rd and Walnut, remained until the glorious stone building with archway doors was repurposed as the Town Hall.

Today, the revitalized downtown and the 3 story Town Hall (plus windowed basement) are both within a stones throw from The Windsor Mill, and the view from the top of the Mill showcases both, as well as the best view of Windsor Lake on the north side.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Preservation of Original 1890's Bricks from the Windsor Milling and Elevator Company

Just one small example of the extensive preservation efforts by the Lauer's to preserve the Windsor Mill.  With forethought and loving care, as many bricks as possible have been saved, stacked, and organized after the disastrous 2008 tornado.  All of the historical artifacts can be readily reused in the reconstruction and redevelpment of the Windsor Mill into a wonderful entertainment complex, including restaurants and bars, retail, and even party and wedding rental space!

More Architectural Drawings

Here are 7 more from the large collection of architectural drawings and plans for the renovation and redevelopment of the Windsor Mill spearheaded by Ron Lauer.