Abandoned Salem factory being repurposed

Couple turning 1850s property into furniture production facility, living space

Tri-State /
Oct.October 05, 2021 02:30 PM

Deana and Jon Ketchum and the former Manhattan Shirt Company factory in Salem, New York (Cambridge Photo, New Collar Goods)

A Washington County couple has an ambitious idea: Repurpose an abandoned garment factory into a combination of industrial and residential space.

Jon and Deana Ketchum are relocating their company, New Collar Goods, from Denver to the upstate New York area where they grew up. They plan to revive the old Manhattan Shirt Company building, spanning 14,000 square feet of bricks and marble, according to the Times-Union.

Sandra Hickland, who has owned the property for close to two decades, agreed to sell the abandoned site to the Ketchums for an undisclosed price. Hickland had other offers but reportedly chose the couple because they planned to maintain it as a commercial space.

The Ketchums envision both a workshop and flexible living space for the factory, the Times Union reported. They plan on hiring local staff for the revived factory, where the Ketchums will produce furniture such as wood and tables and chairs.

The restoration is already underway. The entrepreneurs have ripped out plumbing, rotted flooring and decrepit plaster. A radiant heated floor has been installed in the factory, which was built in the late 19th century; part of the site dates back to the 1850s.

The couple is also incorporating sustainability into the project, adding solar panels to the slate roof and installing energy-efficient windows. In addition to a workshop and living space, the couple also plans on renting out part of the restored facility to other local businesses in Salem, a town of 2,600 people.

The factory has gone through several iterations during the 20th century. Ski and sports clothing manufacturer C.B. Vaughn, the third prominent owner of the premises, took his business out of town in 1989.

[Times Union] — Holden Walter-Warner





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