Won-Door installs four accordion fire doors at Newmarket Mills

Newmarket Mills

Won-Door plays a part in bringing history back to life

By Sharon Haddock

Newmarket Mills

Iconic granite buildings along the Lamprey River in New Hampshire that once housed thriving textile and shoe manufacturing businesses are returning to new life as beautiful living space and trendy shops.

Won-Door Corporation is part of that effort with four uniquely-sized accordion fire doors that protect the stairs at all levels in the newly remodeled community designed by developer Eric Chinburg.

New lighting, paving, new underground utilities, have resulted in transforming the old, classic mills into vibrant downtown space with 112 loft apartments that feature multiple windows, greystone, brick and glossy wood interiors and 50,000 square feet of commercial footage for art studios, sports stores, offices and haircutters.

Recognizing that the former industrial mills stand as a tribute to the character of their hardworking communities, Chinburg has taken care to combine historic preservation with state-of-the-art construction materials and techniques.

Won-Door plays its part in the work with four FireGuard 90 doors that fill 20' widths with various heights from 8'11" to 13' 9" and follow curves, some challenging.

The pockets for the doors are at a 70-degree angle so as to blend seamlessly into the walls.

Geoff Spitzer, Senior Project Manager for Chinburg Builders, Inc., said Chinburg Builders has been renovating historic mill buildings and retrofitting them for modern use for over 15 years.

"Critical to this process is the placement of code-compliant stairways," he said. "This particular project called out for a centrally-located grand stairway that would welcome visitors at various levels (ground floor at two levels and the top floor which will received a covered pedestrian bridge)

"With lobbies and gathering places at each level, we wanted the stairs to feel open and accessible. In order to be code-compliant it was necessary to install 2-hour rated Won-Door Curtain Walls that would close in the event of a fire and create a rated shaft.

"The Won-Doors require a site built structural 'soffit' to suspend the door which in our case was curved. As a bonus, the curved, soffitted track became an interesting architectural feature in the spaces

Spitzer said the process of designing, purchasing and ultimately installing the Won-Doors was complex

"However, the folks at Won-Door worked with us throughout. By the time the Won-Door installer arrived on the job the doors went in without a hitch.

"We are very pleased at our decision to use Won-Doors on this project," he added.

Emily Estabrook, New England District Manager for Won-Door Corporation, said, "The best part of this project is that it is an historical building. Our door is the only product out there that allowed the developers to keep an open entrance area for the first level retail shops while still protecting the stairs leading up to the residential units. The doors also allowed the architect to highlight the original mill features.

"I flagged the project because I loved the idea of keeping the integrity of the interior of the mill building by not building down to standard 8'x8' swing doors," Estabrook said.

Whether converting a former mill building or historic schoolhouse, the prospect of maintaining the property’s historic integrity while providing quality, dynamic living or workspace is as intriguing as the stories that once filled these spaces.

The natural lush beauty of the area around the historic buildings is showcased by public walking trails along the Lamprey River and easy access by water to Great Bay.

Tenants began moving in just months ago and Phase 2, the waterfront apartments, will be coming in Summer 2012 as the Newmarket Mills are on their way to becoming an economic engine of this seacoast community once again.

To see historic and current pictures of this interesting area see: http://chinburg.com/newmarket-mills/

Incorporated in 1727, Newmarket is one of six towns granted town privileges in the last year of King George I's reign.

Newmarket started as a parish of Exeter, probably named for Newmarket in Suffolk, England. For a time, the town was called Lampreyville after an early settler, John Lamprey.

The town was a center for the New England shipping trade and starting with the first cotton textile mill in 1823, the Newmarket Manufacturing Company dominated the town's waterfront and economy with seven textile mills harnessing water power at the falls. The company closed in 1929, leaving the mills largely vacant. (In the 1970s, the Timberland Company used the mill as the headquarters for its fashion brand manufacturing.)

Today the mills are listed on the National Register of Historic Places and are thus carefully adapted for modern commercial and residential use.