Sibley Mill project envisions tech citadel for Augusta

One of the more subtle architectural flourishes at Sibley Mill is the Latin inscription on each of its wings: Esse quam videri.

The expression on the Sibley family crests adorning the four-story building means “To be, rather than to seem.” The phrase was especially poignant when this hulking industrial cathedral was erected along the Augusta Canal during the South’s transition to a mechanized economy 136 years ago.

But today, a decade after the textile mill’s machines fell silent, the cast-iron inscription takes on a different meaning as two South African-born entrepreneurs and the building’s owner attempt to redevelop the 19th century factory into a 21st century high-tech business park called “Augusta Cyber Works.”