Publication Date

Spring 2023

Committee Members

John Mullin Henry Renski Sarah LaCour


Not long ago, mills were the centerpieces and economic engine of many communities throughout New England. With the departure of the manufacturing industry, many of these structures and complexes fell into vacancy and blight, with many being demolished outright. The town of Ludlow, MA is an example of a smaller mill community that was impacted by the closure of its mill. It resulted in the decline and eventual stagnation of population and economic growth. Large unused buildings may bring sorrow to the residents who once worked the floors and machines, but they can also offer opportunity. Through the effective adaptive reuse of mill buildings, they can be revitalized, bringing new economic possibilities to the community and preserving the industrial history that many residents are connected with. This approach, while appealing, comes with its own set of challenges and requires careful consideration of various factors in order to be successful. Over the last 15 years the Ludlow Mills complex has seen redevelopment efforts that show visible improvement to the site and surrounding area, with further development efforts currently underway. Drawing from previous successful revitalization case studies and from the in-progress redevelopment in Ludlow, this project will generate 25 factors that could be considered in the revitalization and combined into a toolkit for developers. By providing fiscal, economic, social, and practical reasoning for mill revitalization, this project aims to provide a first version of a template in which a successful revitalization can be done, and which can later be improved upon.