MADISON, Ind. (Inside INdiana Business) — A historic building in Madison is enjoying new life after a more than $20 million restoration. The Eagle Cotton Mill, which had sat vacant since the 1980s, has been transformed into an 85-room Fairfield Inn and Suites and has been open since a ribbon cutting event in July. The three-story, 104,000-square-foot building was at one point listed on Indiana Landmarks’ 10 Most Endangered list and Ron Bateman with developer Riverton LLC says the project to restore it comes with much satisfaction.
In an interview with Inside INdiana Business, Bateman said the project has the full support of the community.
“There’s so much love for [the building] in this community. People have been trying to figure out how to save it for 30-some years,” said Bateman. “I mean, it’s a spectacular location. It sits right on the river. It’s the last of Madison’s major waterfront industry from the 19th Century and it was extremely well built the first time. We focused on making the outside as near-perfect as we could. The inside was pretty simple; it’s all new anyway.”
The mill was built in 1884 and the new hotel is the first Fairfield Inn housed inside a historic building, according to Indiana Landmarks. Plans for the restoration project were first announced in January 2019. Bateman says while the pandemic did cause some delays, the work continued.
“We never really stopped; it slowed us down some, but it didn’t really affect our product delivery schedule much because we had done a lot of our ordering before that,” he said. “We really didn’t have much in the way of delays until the end of the project when we were trying to get our furniture and things in from China. And we still have a couple pieces that are missing.”
The effort came with the support of the city of Madison and the Indiana Economic Development Corp., which provided nearly $5 million in incentives. Bateman said the support from local and state officials was key.
“They’ve been watching us and they’ve been really supportive. In fact, the governor was here this past week and stayed in the hotel and it’s kind of an exciting event,” said Bateman. “A tremendous amount of work had to be done to get the building done. The IEDC and the city of Madison really stepped up to help us get this done. It couldn’t have been done any other way.”