City still milling over the future of the White Mill Building

Plans are in the works for the Industrial Development Authority to buy Danville's iconic White Mill Building (Photo: Caren Pinto)

DANVILLE, Va. (WSET) -- Abandoned No More.

Plans are in the works for the Industrial Development Authority to buy Danville's iconic White Mill Building.

Some say it's an eyesore, some say it's part of history, others agree it's both.

You can't miss the 650,000 sq. ft. of concrete, though.

"This one of the best views of the city," said Danville resident Barry Koplen.

Koplen has been writing a book for more than a year about the revitalization of the River District.

So when he heard that the Industrial Development Authority wants to do something with the abandoned building, he was thrilled.

"What can we do next to make it even more dynamic, and of course we look right at the White Mill," explained Koplen. "A combination of a monument and a loathe stone."

The monumental loath stone is a crucial part of Danville's Diary.

Richard Loveland, the Executive Director of the Danville Museum of Fine Arts and History explained Danville having 4 T's; trains, tires, tobacco, and textiles.

When the textile industry dissolved, this building went a long with it.

"People still have that connection, part of their family history, personal history," Loveland said. "It's a bit of a white elephant."

Loveland said museum goers always ask him what's in store for that while elephant.

"Most people involved in history would love to save every structure," said Loveland.

Koplen agreed that re-purposing the building would make Danville a destination city and says a new and improved White Mill could increase tourism and improve the quality of life.

"Very few people could dream of tackling a project that size," said Koplen.

He's hoping the Industrial Development Authority can re-purpose it in a way to reinvent the fabric of the community.

On Tuesday, City Council will vote if they will give the IDA $1.5 million from the city's general fund to help.

It's not clear what they would do with the building.

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