White Mill project renamed ‘Dan River Falls’
Groundbreaking held for $100M Danville redevelopment project
The city of Danville and The Alexander Co. held a groundbreaking Thursday for the redevelopment of the long-vacant White Mill in Danville’s River District.
At the ceremony held Thursday in Danville, officials revealed that the White Mill will now be called “Dan River Falls,” honoring Dan River Fabrics, the textile company White Mill was part of; Wynne’s Falls, the name of the first settlement along the river that became Danville; and the Dan River itself, according to a news release from the city.
The $100 million public-private redevelopment of the 550,000-square-foot former textiles mill is a joint venture between the Industrial Development Authority of Danville and Madison, Wisconsin-based The Alexander Co. It will have 147,000 square feet of commercial space and 150 apartments, 32 reserved for people earning up to 80% of the area’s median income. There will be 219 parking spaces for tenants.
“When this is done two years from now, we will have a real party to celebrate this $85 million investment,” Joe Alexander, president of The Alexander Co., said in a statement. “The city (of Danville) should know its staff is remarkable. This would not be happening here without its perseverance. … Thank you for your faith in us. We have faith in you, and this will be a great project.”
The prominent white building once represented one of the Southeast United States’ largest textile operations, Dan River Mills, which shut down in 2006 after being sold the previous year. But since the White Mill has sat empty, “the building became an ode to the past instead of helping us promote the incredible growth and transformation that is being experienced, not only in the city of Danville, but throughout the entire Southern Virginia region,” Corrie Bobe, Danville’s director of economic development told Virginia Business last year.
Funding for the project has come from a variety of sources, most recently $5 million from a state Industrial Revitalization Fund grant. Danville has already received a $500,000 state grant, and the city is applying for a $1.7 million Land Water Conservation Fund grant to acquire seven acres and an abandoned bridge. It’s all part of a plan to create a whitewater channel in the canal, and connect the former textile mill to the planned Riverfront Park.
“From today forward, this building will be the backdrop for a story about hope and the clearest evidence yet that Danville is experiencing a remarkable resurgence,” Danville City Manager Ken Larking said in a statement.