- Associated Press - Thursday, March 26, 2015

SALINA, Kan. (AP) - The owner of a Salina mill has proposed a multimillion-dollar plan to transform the H.D. Lee Flour Mill and Grain Elevator into either townhomes or hotel rooms, with a restaurant 100 feet off the ground.

Bob Brown, who bought the mill nearly two years ago, has teamed up with others to revitalize the area in north Salina where the mill he calls “the crown jewel” of the 48,000-resident city’s downtown is located, the Salina Journal (https://bit.ly/1NdDHP1 ) reported.

A conceptual video from local visualization artist Mike Munson and David Exline, from the California-based Exline Design & Architecture, shows what the 116-year-old mill may look like after redevelopment. The video has garnered over 13,000 hits on Exline’s and Brown’s Facebook pages as of Wednesday, according to Brown.

The next step in the project is collecting $300,000 to $500,000 of private seed money to look at the mill’s structure and make sure that is sound.

“A project like this, and the other ones going on, would mean so much to Salina,” said Exline, a former resident of the central Kansas city.

Larry Britegam, Bennington State Bank’s chief strategy officer, considers Brown’s plan complimentary to other efforts to upgrade Salina’s downtown, including efforts to build a field house, hotel, entertainment center and two museums.

“Once you start a process like this, other people with other ideas will jump on the bandwagon,” Britegam said. “It’s all about planting seeds and watching them sprout.”

Brown, 63, has been working on the mill project for nearly two years, and he bought the mill “because of its location and rough-looking beauty.”

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Information from: The Salina (Kan.) Journal, https://www.salina.com


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