Preservation North Carolina envisions converting the propertyinto a $60-million complex comprising apartments, offices, retailand a 30,000-sf civic center. Firestone/Bridgestone donated themill to the preservation group a year ago.

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David Rogers of Rock Hill, NC and Murray Gould of Raleigh, NCare two developers discussing the mill's development potential withMark Rodman, chief operating officer of Preservation NorthCarolina.

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"What we're looking to do is turn it into an area that hascondos and apartments and we're also working with the city ofGastonia about the possibility of housing a civic center," Rodmantells GlobeSt.com. "There's a good possibility that it will workout, but we're still in negotiations."

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No matter where the civic center ends up, city officials say theonly way to pay for it is with an increased hotel/motel occupancytax. Preservation North Carolina is also raising money for therenovations, expected to cost about $60 million. The group has beengiven a $100,000 local government grant but missed out on a federalgrant for $600,000.

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