Situated just southwest of downtown Gastonia, the neighboring area surrounding the Loray Mill is known as Loray Mill Village. It was established in 1902 after the completion of the Loray Mill. Life revolved around the mill. Families in the neighborhood worked together and knew one another personally. Their children would gather at the mill's swimming pool in the summer, and parents could walk to the bank, the post office, or the grocery store, all within a few blocks. Through various ownerships, the mill and surrounding mill village finally was purchased by Firestone, Inc. in 1935 and life continued. Over the years, the mill houses were offered to the mill workers for purchase. The initial offering from Firestone was estimated at $500/room to the workers and Firestone provided some financing. Today, many of the mill houses remain occupied by former mill workers. But when the mill closed in 1993, everything changed. The grand old building began to fall apart, and took with it a sense of community.
The mill remains the centerpiece of Loray Mill Village, standing majestic at 6 stories tall. At the time of construction, Loray Mill was the largest mill under one roof in the world. The mill is renowned for both its architecture and many significant events that took place there. Its pioneering design which suppressed fire and the spread of fire through architectural features include rounded columns, separated stairwells and a state-of-the-art air conditioning system. These features were copied for years to come in other textile mills. In April 2013, reconstruction began on the renovation of Phase I of the mill building. The plan is to convert the 600,000 square foot Loray Mill into a mixed-use community of live, work, play. Phase I will consist of 190-apartment lofts for rent and 100,000 square feet of retail/commercial space. The Loray Mill will be ready for occupancy of residents and retail stores by Spring of 2014. Future plans for the renovation of Phase II should begin in late 2014. The area surrounding the mill is under a revitalization of its own to include the installation of a brand new city park. Loray Mill Village will come alive with a buzz of activity once again.