Beneficial Reuse – Converting An Abandoned Mill into Affordable Housing

The River Bend Mill, located within a historic district of Franklin, NH, was purchased by CATCH Neighborhood Housing with a vision to redevelop the former industrial mill into 45 units of critically needed affordable housing. Nobis was selected to provide the needed engineering and environmental expertise to bring this project to completion.

Nobis conducted an environmental assessment of the property, provided demolition support, and ensured hazardous materials were identified and properly removed throughout this historic building. Nobis’ engineers conducted a subsurface investigation and developed foundation system design recommendations, developed site layout plans, designed the needed utility systems, and implemented a regulatory strategy to usher this project through the necessary permitting processes. Construction documentation and related construction support was also provided by Nobis.


  • Due to the industrial history of the site, legacy environmental impacts from past contamination existed on-site. As a result, several portions of the site were deed restricted and could not be disturbed.
  • Project funding was coming from multiple sources and was conditioned upon many restrictions before the property transfer could occur.
  • The mill building was vacant with portions in significant disrepair and unsafe.


  • Nobis’ overall site design and regulatory strategy successfully accounted for the deed restrictions placed on the property while still achieving the overall redevelopment objectives.
  • Nobis successfully completed an expanded site assessment that addressed a complex and broad spectrum of contaminants and exposure pathways that satisfied the funding and property transfer requirements.
  • Nobis implemented several additional safety measures and developed design recommendations that included foundation underpinning alternatives due to poor and unsuitable soil conditions beneath the building.


The project was completed and the River Bend Mill successfully redeveloped and put back into beneficial re-use as affordable housing. This project has attracted people to live in the community, encouraged developers to invest in other vacant buildings, connected this neighborhoods to downtown areas, and improved the downtown while retaining the history of its buildings and industrial heritage.