by Denice Thibodeau
The gigantic “White Mill” in Danville has been silent for more than a decade, a symbol of the demise of the textile industry and the Dan River Region’s weak economy.
Now, plans are in place for the White Mill to be reborn as a technology center. Hundreds of jobs and hundreds of millions of dollars in investment in the building were announced in late July.
The former Dan River Inc. Number 8 Mill, commonly referred to as the White Mill, has a new owner — White Mill Development LLC, which is headed up by Gibbs International Inc. of Spartanburg, S.C.
Mayor Sherman Saunders says the $400 million project will transform downtown Danville, bringing 400 high-tech jobs that will have an average salary of $40,000 per year. Plans call for the building to house information technology companies, secure records storage and other high-tech operations.
Incentives for the project included $2.45 million from the Tobacco Commission and $1 million from the Danville Regional Foundation.
John Gieser, vice president of mergers, acquisitions and real estate for Gibbs International, says the mill won’t be ready for tenants for 12 to 18 months. No companies have signed up yet to use the building, but he is confident the facility will attract 400 jobs. “There is a significant demand for high quality technology space,” he says.
Gieser says Danville’s fiber optic network was the reason the project came to fruition.
Denice Thibodeau is a staff writer for the Danville Register & Bee.
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