IDA to consider accepting seven acres from Danville’s White Mill project

About seven acres of the White Mill project property will likely be transferred to the Danville Industrial Development Authority for a planned canal extension for a whitewater kayak course and other uses.

The IDA will consider whether to accept a deed that will convey 6.87 acres from 424 Memorial Drive LLC to the IDA during a special called meeting of the authority Tuesday morning.

The property will be used for the whitewater rafting channel, connection to the Riverwalk Trail and possibly a connection to the planned pedestrian bridge, said Danville City Manager Ken Larking.

Transfer of the property will not affect the White Mill redevelopment project planned under a partnership between the IDA and The Alexander Company in Madison, Wisconsin.

“It’s not going to change the scope of the project,” Larking said.

Alexander Company spokesperson Kendra Bishop said of the planned transfer, “This will not materially affect any agreements between the IDA and the Alexander Company because the land was not to be part of the White Mill’s redevelopment, but rather carved out for this public use.”

Construction of the $85 million project is expected to begin in the fourth quarter of this year, likely in October. The first phase of the project is expected to be complete at the end of 2024.

The Alexander Company, in a joint venture with the IDA, plans to bring new apartments and new commercial space to the White Mill building.

Plans for the White Mill project include 110,000 square feet of commercial space, 150 apartment units (with an additional 100 units in the future) and 219 interior parking spaces. In addition, the covered bridge that spans the Dan River from the north side of the White Mill to the former Long Mill site is being restored. The bridge will be for pedestrians and will connect the north and south sides of the Riverwalk Trail.

There are also plans to use the canal on the south side of the building as a whitewater feature and to provide about 1.12 acres fronting the Dan River for an extension of the Riverwalk Trail.

The Alexander Company 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 — will allow the use of historic tax credits for the project.

The IDA owns the White Mill property, but the authority agreed to admit the Alexander Company into the ownership structure as part of the memorandum of understanding.

Conveying the seven acres to the IDA will allow extension of the planned Riverfront Park for the whitewater feature with viewing and vending areas, Riverwalk extension, additional public parking, and a connection to the pedestrian bridge via the Riverwalk Trail.

“These new amenities aren’t just for enjoyment of future White Mill residents, but the community as a whole, truly weaving the White Mill back into the fabric of the Danville community,” Bishop said. “We’re excited to be part of the bigger plans that the city has for the White Mill site and surrounding Riverfront Park and Riverwalk, as well as Danville’s incredible economic and quality-of-life momentum.”

The IDA will meet at 10:30 a.m. Tuesday in the second-floor conference room in the Municipal Building.

Article by John Crane | Register & Bee