Mill that started Warren Buffett's empire is being torn down

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Posted: Tuesday, January 14, 2014 12:00 am | Updated: 1:52 am, Tue May 20, 2014.

NEW BEDFORD, Mass. — The Massachusetts textile mill that helped billionaire Warren Buffett launch his investment empire, but which he also called one of his biggest blunders, is being torn down.

Roland Letendre, the current owner of the Berkshire Hathaway mill in New Bedford, started demolishing the structure this week after efforts to sell the property failed.

The mill, built in 1927, had been on the market for $500,000, but it needs about $1 million in repairs, Letendre said.

Letendre doesn't have plans to redevelop the site himself and will likely sell the land, he said.

Buffett, then an ambitious 34-year-old investor, acquired control of the textile manufacturer in 1965. Overwhelmed by foreign competition, the mill closed in 1985 and Buffett sold the complex in 2000 to Letendre for $215,000.

Buffett once said he should have recognized the impending demise of the U.S. textile industry.

“The dumbest thing I could have done was to pursue 'opportunities' to improve and expand the existing textile operation — so for years that's exactly what I did,” Buffett said in 2011.

Buffett reportedly turned down an offer to repurchase the property.

© 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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