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The Kesler Mill Redevelopment


The City of Salisbury engaged the Development Finance Initiative (DFI) in January 2023 to analyze the redevelopment feasibility of the former Kesler Mill site and assist with attracting private investment for the redevelopment of the site.


The Kesler Mill site is in the Park Avenue neighborhood, located minutes from downtown Salisbury and Interstate-85, and is a key focus of city leadership.


The City of Salisbury intends to see the development include a range of public and private uses that would provide residential options for a mixed-income community.

Background and Process

Map of the Kesler Mill Study Area

The Kesler Mill site consists of five (5) parcels totaling 12.88-acres. The site is bounded by Park Avenue, Martin Luther King Jr. Ave. N, E. Franklin Street, and N. Arlington Street, and is an undeveloped Brownfield’s site. The city received an EPA Brownfields grant for the cleanup of this former industrial site, and work began in November of 2021 and was completed in the spring of 2023.

DFI, a program of the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill’s School of Government, partners with local governments to attract private investment for transformative projects by providing specialized finance and development expertise. DFI will conduct a feasibility analysis and identify several options for redevelopment of the Kesler Mill site for the city while regularly seeking feedback and engagement from the City of Salisbury leadership. Once a redevelopment scenario has been endorsed by the city, DFI will solicit the opportunity to qualified development teams, and will assist the city with negotiations of a development services agreement with the selected partner. .

Program Milestones


The City of Salisbury and DFI conducted two community input sessions on Thursday, June 15 at 6 p.m. at the Park Avenue Community Center and Tuesday, June 20 at 6 p.m. via Zoom, and an online survey from June 20 through July 14, 2023 to learn what the community’s interests were for the redevelopment of the Kesler Mill Site. The city and DFI also attended an event hosted by the Park Avenue Redevelopment Association on Friday, June 30 at 6 p.m. to share information about the project.

 aerial image of the original Kesler Mill Brownfield


Brownfields clean-up for the Kesler Mill site was completed in May 2023.


The city received an EPA Brownfields grant for the cleanup of this former industrial site, and work began in November of 2021.


The City of Salisbury introduces the Brownfields Program and the first selected site, Kesler Mill.

Frequently Asked Questions

What forms of environmental contamination are present?

Environmental assessments of the Kesler Mill site identified three areas of concern. The first includes the 11,000 – 13, 000 cubic yards of building debris, which contains some asbestos-containing materials. The second consists of two limited areas, where soils have elevated levels of the metals Arsenic, Cobalt, and Thallium, as well as elevated levels of polynuclear aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) from 0’ to 4’ below ground surface. The third area is where soils have elevated levels of petroleum constituents and PAHs.

What is the process and timeline for cleanup?

The cleanup will be conducted in two phases – the first phase will address the debris piles, while the second phase will address the contaminated soils. The first phase is anticipated to begin in January 2021 with a bid process to hire licensed abatement contractors to properly segregate, remove, and dispose of the asbestos-containing materials and the debris piles. The first phase should be completed by the end of March 2021. The second phase to address the contaminated soils is anticipated to begin early Summer 2021 with an evaluation of potential remediation options, including excavation and removal, engineering controls, or in situ treatment. Phase two of the cleanup is expected to be completed by the end of September 2021.

Who will be involved in the cleanup activities?

The City has enrolled the site in the North Carolina Brownfields Program, and the cleanup is being funded through a grant provided by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Therefore, both the EPA and the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality (NCDEQ) brownfields project managers will participate and provide regulatory oversight. The City has also hired the environmental engineering firm, Cardno, Inc., to provide technical oversight of the cleanup project. Additional abatement and remediation contractors will be procured as the cleanup progresses.

What kind of impact will cleanup activities have on the neighborhood?

Contractors will attempt to minimize impacts on the neighborhood, and safety measures will be implemented to protect human health and the environment. During asbestos abatement and debris removal activities, the contractors will use controls to minimize dust, and air monitoring will be conducted and work halted to prevent airborne exposures. A community meeting will be held prior to work commencing to gather public input on proposed working hours, truck routes, and other impacts or concerns of the neighborhood.

What will the site look like after cleanup has taken place?

The most noticeable difference will be the removal of the large pile of miscellaneous building debris from the site. Once the asbestos and debris is removed, the City will also be able to begin maintaining the vegetation within the fenced property. The large building foundations will remain, and other aspects of the site will remain relatively unchanged until a redevelopment of the site begins.

What is the long term plan for the site?

The City obtained ownership of the property in 2018 in order to facilitate brownfield cleanup activities and to solicit a private developer who will redevelop the site in line with the community’s vision. It’s important to the City that redevelopment of the site not only be feasible from an environmental perspective and advantageous from a financial perspective, but desirable from the neighborhood perspective. Over the next 12 months, the Community Planning Services department will host several meetings to gather feedback on the future of the site.

How can I learn more about brownfields?

How can I stay informed?

Text your questions to (980) 292-2847

Call or email staff: Hannah Jacobson, (704) 638-5230 or

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