New owners to develop Gilford Mill in Co Down
The historic Gilford Mill in Co Down has been sold to new owners who say they have long term plans to develop the site.
The 19th century mill has been the subject of numerous failed plans for regeneration since flax spinning ended in the 1980s.
The site was once one of the largest linen mills in Ireland, employing more than 2,000 people in the 1880s.
After being put on the market in January this year, the site has finally been bought by the Karl Asset Management group which built the Obel Tower in Belfast.
Company director Aran Blackbourne said the firm is open to all options on how to develop the site, but a shopping centre was an unlikely venture.
He said: "It's great to be involved in such a prestigious project and it is a long-term scheme given its location. We're here to clean up the site, put its best foot forward and turn it into something great for Gilford. We're open to all options at the minute, no fixed ideas, nothing ruled in or ruled out. Everything's possible, you just have to allow your imagination to flow and put it to market at the right time."