published Monday, February 7th, 2011, updated Feb. 7th, 2011 at 1:52 p.m.

Owner gets permit to demolish Rossville’s Peerless Mill


by Andy Johns
  • photo
    The old Peerless Woolen Mill building sits on Williams Street in Rossville, GA

The owner of Rossville’s Peerless Mill requested a permit this morning to demolish the 105-year-old mill.

Les Coffey said he plans to level the 28-acre property and use it as a scrap yard and waste transfer station.

“We must for the benefit of the creditors of Peerless Self Storage and the share holders change our direction of business,” Coffey wrote in a news release. “Beginning immediately we will proceed with demolishing of the complex.”

In a phone interview Coffey said crews will begin taking down lights this afternoon, and all of the demolition will be finished by Dec. 31.

In the release he noted that all current tenants will be allowed to stay until their leases are up and the Prater’s Flooring building would remain up and running.

Coffey and the city have been involved in disputes that have lead to lawsuits and counter suits over the past few years.

In the release, Coffey blamed the city for the mill’s problems.

“It is very regretful that a dream of mine will never be realized, as I have invested four years of my life into this project,” he wrote. “However, reality must take precedence over dreams and the reality is the City of Rossville and their management will never allow the Peerless site to thrive.”

Coffey said he has spent more than $800,000 on improvements since he bought the mill in July 2007.

Mayor Johnny Baker wished Coffey luck on his new venture.

“As long as he complies with the zoning and everything what he does with it is up to him,” Baker said. “I say good luck to him.”

Baker said the property is zoned industrial and he believed a scrap yard would fit into that description.

“I’ll guess we’ll cross that bridge when he applies for a business permit,” the mayor said.

In the past, city officials have pointed to the road and rail connections at the site and wished it could be developed for industry to bring jobs back to the town.

ESTIMATED SALVAGEABLE MATERIAL FROM THE MILL

* 10 million pounds of heavy steel

* 2 million pounds of shreddable tin and steel

* 200,000 pounds of heavy copper

* 400,000 pounds copper wire and piping

* 5 million bricks between 75 and 100 years old

* 1 million board feet of heart of pine beams

* 1 million board feet of maple flooring

Source: Les Coffey, Peerless Self Storage

For complete details, see tomorrow’s Chattanooga Times Free Press.

about Andy Johns...

Andy began working at the Times Free Press in July 2008 as a general assignment reporter before focusing on Northwest Georgia and Georgia politics in May of 2009. Before coming to the Times Free Press, Andy worked for the Anniston Star, the Rome News Tribune and the Campus Carrier at Berry College, where he graduated with a communications degree in 2006. He is pursuing a master’s degree in business administration at the University of Tennessee ...

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librul said...

Scrap and waste - that's Rossville!

February 7, 2011 at 10:16 a.m.
whatsthefuss said...

My condolences to Mr. Coffey. As to the people of Rossville, Be careful what you wish for and even more careful who you vote for!! It's not everyday you have a gentleman come to town with a pocket full of money wanting to invest in such a place. Dreams should be nurtured and encouraged to return rundown communities to a bright new vibrant feel and look. I hear many people talk about the Old Rossville and what it means to them to see it come back to something that resembles it's past. I don't think scrap is what they had in mind.

February 7, 2011 at 12:35 p.m.
cissy said...

This might not be what Rossville had in mind when it came to rebuilding the communities, but they have left him no choice have they?

February 7, 2011 at 1:05 p.m.
rarnold281 said...

So sad. Mr. Coffey had dreams of bring real jobs back to Rossville, but the city fought him every step of the way. The city leaders do not want "outsiders" because then the so called leaders will be exposed for what they really are.

February 7, 2011 at 4:51 p.m.
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