In case you missed it, Tuesday’s Globe had a story on the renovations underway on Mill No. 5 on Jackson Street in Lowell. As you head down Jackson Street from Central, Mill No. 5 is on the left, a block beyond the Early Parking Garage. I recently had a quick tour of the inside of the mill and was very impressed with the amount of work done thus far and the plans for the site. For now, most of the effort is on the fourth floor which is entirely divided by wall studs but without any wall covering which gives the impression of being in the midst of a virtual blueprint as you walk through the space. The concept is to create the feel of an old city street (European or early east coast United States), with distinctive retails storefronts along the length of the “street” including a coffee shop/cafe and a “library” seating area filled with books and free WIFI. At the end of the hall sits a movie theater with stadium style seating for 100. Visualizing the space once complete, I was reminded of a narrow, centuries old street in Brussels that had a plexiglass canopy built over its length: you had the benefits of an open air venue without bad weather interfering.
The more time I spend on Jackson Street, the more I am amazed. There’s always another building being brought online and yet another project being started. To have this happen at a time when the rest of the world’s economy is lagging is very impressive and invites you to imagine what will happen once the economy truly improves. Mill No. 5 seems a great addition to all of this. It is scheduled to open in late July.