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Raleigh, N.C. – Nestled in downtown Raleigh, hesketh.com's new office space at Pilot Mill (1101 Haynes St) is punctuated with eight-foot tall windows that flood the open floorplan with natural light. It provides a marked contrast to conventional, corporate office spaces. CEO Heather Hesketh was on a mission to find space that truly expresses the company's personality to further engage her team and to better attract the Triangle’s creative class.
Employees are enthused about the new space, with its soaring 14’ ceilings and a contemporary, lofty feel that showcases the 100-year-old building's heavy timbers and post and beam construction. The new office space is supportive of the company's open collaborative style of working. And the building itself exudes an energy and creativity derived from adaptive reuse and respect for the old and the new.
That building, along with two other century-old mill buildings, are part of the larger strategy of Pilot Mill, an urban redevelopment project. A primary objective for the office buildings was historic preservation, and the community, which abuts the nearby Historic Oakwood and Mordecai communities, is an interesting blend of old and new construction. Much as they did nearly a century ago, these three key buildings helped fuel the birth of surrounding residential and retail properties, creating today's thriving urban community which is a stone's throw for Glenwood South and downtown proper. The space that hesketh.com will occupy is in the 1894 building, the oldest of only three surviving buildings among the score that once made up Pilot Mill's textile operations.
Nearby greenways, sidewalks, eateries, shops, museums, and bike racks will provide a marked change of pace for many employees who have been largely constrained to cars for lunchtime outings. Several employees will now be able to bike or walk to work, while others enjoy easy access via I-40/Wade Avenue, Wake Forest Road, or Capital Boulevard. Account Manager Barb Baranski says, "I can't wait for the chance to bike during lunch or to the dojo after work." She and others who commute to work plan on walking or bringing bikes for use during the day or before heading home in the evening. On rainy days, you'll likely find team members congregating in the new space's greatly enhanced communal areas.
"Supporting growth was one aim, but my main goal was to find a location that was as inspiring as our team. When I walked into the space at Pilot Mill, I felt energized with possibilities. That’s when I knew we’d found our new corporate home. Not only is the space beautiful, but it blends old and new in an incredibly respectful way. That it is within walking and biking distance of downtown was the icing on the cake”," says Hesketh.
For more information on current career opportunities available at hesketh.com, see http://hesketh.com/about-us/working-here.
More than a century ago, Pilot Mill was one of two textile mills in Raleigh that produced unfinished cotton, sometimes called gray goods. James and William Williamson purchased the site in 1892, built the first mill building in 1894, the second in 1903, and a third in 1910, as Pilot Mill's production expanded from 1.3 million yards of plaid fabric in 1904 to more than 8 million yards of a variety of fabrics in 1910 when the last of the three preserved buildings was built. More than twenty buildings existed as part of the mill at one point in the 1960's.
The mill's ownership passed through the hands of many investors both before and after it ceased its textile operations. The 1980's saw a failed attempt at redeveloping the property and a foreclosure. In 1997, Hedgehog Holdings joined in the purchase of the seven acres of land where the three original buildings existed. While encountering many obstacles, the developers and local artisans worked to preserve the unique elements of each building, salvaging any materials that could be reused. When salvage was not an option, custom-made matching materials or old material from a South Carolina mill undergoing demolition were used. Bricked in windows were reopened and replaced with custom-made ones mimicking every detail of the originals.
Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, Pilot Mill's achievements in preservation and urban redevelopment have resulted in its receiving the Capital Area Preservation's prestigious Anthemion Award as well as The Sir Walter Raleigh Award for Community Appearance for enhancing the beauty of the City of Raleigh.