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The City of Danville will receive a state grant of $5 million for assistance in restoration and rehabilitation of the former White Mill building at 424 Memorial Drive.
The grant was one of 20 Industrial Revitalization Fund (IRF) grants, announced today by Governor Glenn Youngkin. IRF grants provide gap financing for construction projects aligned with local and regional economic development strategies, primarily in distressed communities.
Mayor Alonzo Jones said the grant will provide a major boost for the project.
“This grant will help us move an important project forward,” Jones said. “We are thankful to have the support of Governor Youngkin, Secretary of Commerce and Trade Caren Merrick, and the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development in what we are attempting to do.”
City Manager Ken Larking said the funds fill a financial gap that will enable the City to offer commercial and office space in the White Mill at a competitive rate.
“For too long, the White Mill has been a symbol of economic decline for our community,” Larking said. “Soon, it will be an example of how far Danville has come in our work to bring new economic opportunity and prosperity to our city.”
Corrie Bobe, director of the Danville Office of Economic Development and Tourism, said bringing this large, iconic structure back to life not only preserves a portion of Danville’s history, but also creates a space for future generations to enjoy.
“The transformation of the White Mill and our riverfront is part of a larger story of how the entire Southern Virginia region is going through a renaissance and has quickly become the region of choice for businesses and residents alike,” Bobe said. “We sincerely appreciate the role the state continues to play in supporting our region and ensuring that this momentum continues.”
The Danville Office of Economic Development and Tourism applied for the grant earlier this year.
A news release from the governor’s office stated the Industrial Revitalization Fund (IRF) leverages local and private resources to achieve market-driven redevelopment of vacant and deteriorated industrial and commercial properties. The program is targeted toward vacant non-residential structures whose poor condition creates physical and economic blight to the surrounding area in which the structure is located. Projects were reviewed and evaluated competitively..
The iconic White Mill building will be redeveloped into a multi-use project that initially will feature 147,000 square feet of commercial space and 150 apartments. Another 56 apartments are planned in a future phase.
The project is a joint venture between the Industrial Development Authority and The Alexander Company, which is a specialist in urban redevelopment and historic preservation based in Madison, Wis.
The 150 apartments will be built on the top three floors of the western two-thirds of the building and will include one-, two-, and three-bedroom units. Some will be in a loft-style.
The future apartments will be built on the top floors of the eastern one-third of the building.
The first floor and the eastern one-third of the second floor will be reserved for commercial space, with the lower level of the building being converted into 219 interior parking spaces for tenants.
Additional activity will take place on property adjoining the White Mill building, including the construction of a riverfront park on four acres between the White Mill site and the King Memorial Bridge.
Also, an easement over approximately 1.12 acres of land fronting the Dan River will allow for the extension of the Riverwalk Trail, and there are plans to use the canal on the south side of the building as a whitewater feature, as well as plans to restore the bridge that spans the river from the north side of the White Mill building to the former Long Mill site.