The Dan River Falls commercial and residential project at the former White Mill building is still expected to complete late this year, and the city has been in talks with businesses interested in units there.
“We’ve been engaged with a number of businesses interested in locating at Dan River Falls,” said Corrie T. Bobe, director of economic development and tourism for Danville.
Without revealing how many potential commercial tenants are inquiring about space at the facility, Bobe said a mix of businesses is discussing the possibility of coming to Dan River Falls, including those in the food-and-beverage industry and traditional office users.
“We are thrilled thus far with the interest we’ve received,” Bobe said.
In October, Danville’s city manager told the Register & Bee that the city was exploring the possibility of moving some of its department offices into Dan River Falls. The parks and recreation department and the office of economic development and tourism were at the top of the list for consideration.
Officials have pointed to a shortage of room in city government buildings as well as an aging City Auditorium — where parks and recreation’s offices are located — as reasons for the possible department moves.
A 2016 study found that the city government needed more space to meet its needs.
It has been a year since ground was broken on the $85 million project on Jan. 12, 2023.
Kendra Bishop, spokesperson with The Alexander Co., which is in a joint agreement with the city on the Dan River Falls project, told the Register & Bee that the endeavor is on schedule.
The building, often called the White Mill, is an icon in Danville. The words “Home of Dan River Fabrics” were perched atop the mill building for decades.
“We do still anticipate completion in the fourth quarter of 2024,” Bishop said via email Wednesday. “We remain very grateful to largely be on schedule and appreciate all of Rehab Builders’ [the project’s contractor] exceptional diligence to ensure this remains the case.”
Concrete restoration is nearly complete, as well as installation of residential windows and framing, Bishop said.
Heating and air, electrical, telecommunications, plumbing and fire protection are being installed, she said. That work is ongoing, she added.
“Next steps include drywall and finishes such as paint, flooring, etc.,” Bishop said. “This will be an exciting milestone, as homes will truly start taking shape.”
Work on surface parking lots will begin soon, weather permitting, she added.
The White Mill, a joint project between the Danville Industrial Development Authority and Wisconsin-based The Alexander Co., is being redeveloped into Dan River Falls, a multi-use project that will initially feature 147,000 square feet of commercial space and 150 apartments. More apartments are expected during a later phase.
Work on the building’s core and shell is about 65% complete and the residential portion of the project is about 40% finished, Bishop said.
“We’ve experienced minimal delays in site work, due to hidden conditions and coordination,” she said. “However, this has not had an impact on our anticipated completion date.”
The 150 apartments will be built on the top three floors of western two-thirds of the building and will include one-, two,- and three-bedroom units. Some will be loft style. The future apartments will be built on the top floors of the eastern one-third of the building.
Bishop told the Register & Bee in October that rent for one-bedroom apartments is expected to range from $950 to $1,500 per month, while that for two-bedroom units will be from $1,100 to $1,680 per month, she said.
Three-bedroom units are expected to cost from $1,200 to $2,100 a month, Bishop said in October.
Those rates have not changed, Bishop said Wednesday.
“The projected rental rates remain the same as I had provided in October,” she said.
However, the rent prices are projections and are subject to change.
Just more than 20% — or 32 — of the 150 apartments will be reserved for those earning up to 80% of the area median income.
Potential residential tenants will likely be able to apply to rent a space at the development by late summer, Bishop said.
“We’ve been building an interest list,” she said.
Those interested in renting a residential unit can call The Alexander Co. at 608-258-5580, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
An additional 40 market-rate units are expected in the second phase of the project. That is less than the 56 units previously announced.
“We expect these will be available in the third or fourth quarter of 2025, with an estimated project cost of $13 million,” Bishop said. “The floor plans of this phase of the apartments may vary slightly, but the finishes will match the first phase.”
The first floor and eastern one-third of the second floor at Dan River Falls will be reserved for commercial space, with the lower level of the building being converted into 219 interior parking spaces for tenants.
The Alexander Co. and the IDA signed a memorandum of understanding during a ceremony in May 2021 at the Danville Family YMCA across the Dan River from the White Mill.
Entering into the partnership under 424 Memorial Drive LLC — instead of having the Alexander Company buy the property outright — allows the use of historic tax credits for the project.
The IDA owns the White Mill property, but the authority agreed to admit the Alexander Co. into the ownership structure as part of the memorandum of understanding.