On December 27, 2022, the state of Virginia announced over $24.7 million in 20 Industrial Revitalization Fund (IRF) grants.
IRF grants provide gap financing for restoration and redevelopment projects aligned with local and regional economic revitalization strategies, primarily in distressed communities.
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.
“The transformation of older, vacant or blighted structures into productive, usable spaces is crucial to catalyzing economic growth to create thriving communities,” said Governor Glenn Youngkin.
“The Industrial Revitalization Fund continues to be an important resource for those redevelopment efforts, spurring regional partnerships, economic development and job growth across the Commonwealth,” he continued.
Projects were reviewed and evaluated competitively, with an emphasis on those with a high level of blight, identification of impediments to economic development efforts, alignment with regional or local strategies, availability of matching resources, the level of community distress where the property is located and an identified and feasible end use.
Here’s the full list of newly-awarded projects:
White Mill Redevelopment | $5,000,000
City of Danville
The city of Danville will redevelop the White Mill, a 20-acre property on the south bank of the Dan River, with a focus on redeveloping the 650,000-square-foot industrial building which once served as a textile mill. The two-phase project will transform the building into modern commercial space with interior parking and 150 new housing units. This first phase will generate over $34 million in capital investment and will create over 100 new jobs.
The HIVE – Hub for Innovators, Veterans and Entrepreneurs | $4,500,000
City of Winchester
The city of Winchester, in partnership with Shenandoah University, will build Winchester as a regional hub for entrepreneurs by renovating a former National Guard Armory into a veterans’ center, business incubator, job training center and community gathering area, with a focus on technology fields. Shenandoah University projects creating eight new jobs for the center itself within the first year of operation, 13 new jobs by the end of five years of operation and 239 full-time jobs through businesses served through programmatic activities.
John Randolph Hotel Redevelopment | $3,000,000
IDA of South Boston
The South Boston Industrial Development Authority will redevelop the historic John Randolph Hotel, located in the central business district of the town of South Boston, into a modern boutique hotel featuring 30 rooms, a first-class restaurant and a rooftop bar. The project anticipates the creation of 22 full-time and 20 part-time jobs.
Harris Memorial Armory Redevelopment | $1,000,000
Town of Blackstone
The town of Blackstone, in partnership with Virginia State University, will rehabilitate the Harris Memorial Armory Center into a multi-purpose facility that will offer workforce training programs to the community, specifically to support the need for skilled hospitality labor. The facility will also host Transition Solutions Enterprise, a nonprofit offering transitional services for individuals transitioning from prison. This project will create at least 35 new full-time jobs.
Project Light Peer Recovery Center | $1,000,000
City of Galax
The city of Galax will redevelop a blighted former grocery store into a space for nonprofits to provide services to the community, including addiction-to-work peer recovery counseling, after school and adult mentoring by skilled educators in the community and prepared meals and boxed meals for the food insecure. Ten low-rent office spaces will allow graduates of Celebrate Recovery and low-income community members to begin start-up businesses. This project anticipates the creation of at least 10 new jobs, with the potential for many more.
Old Wood Finishing Factory | $1,000,000
Town of Kenbridge
The town of Kenbridge will redevelop a former wood-finishing factory into a manufacturing facility and distribution center, producing environmentally-friendly food packaging containers using softwood pulp, hardwood pulp and other agricultural residues. The close proximity to Norfolk provides opportunities for global product distribution, and the project anticipates creating at least 25 jobs once operations begin.
Lilliston Building | $1,000,000
Town of Onancock
The town of Onancock will rehabilitate the Lilliston building, which has been vacant for almost 20 years, into a mixed-use structure with first floor commercial storefronts and six residential units on the second. This project is viewed as a catalytic project for the downtown commercial district of Onancock, with two businesses committed to locating in the building once renovations are completed and creating at least 20 new jobs.
Deen Building Redevelopment | $990,000
Town of St. Paul
The town of St. Paul, in partnership with St. Paul Tomorrow Inc., will redevelop the Deen Building into a distillery that will serve as a tourist attraction and hospitality asset for the town. The Deen Building, which is a former department store located in the historic Western Front area, will be renovated into a 3,600-square-foot distillery and restaurant space that will provide retail space for shelf-stable, locally produced foods, merchandise and artisan products.
Valley Innovation Center | $985,000
City of Buena Vista
The city of Buena Vista, in partnership with the Advancement Foundation, will renovate a former cigarette paper factory into a mixed-use small business incubator. This phase of the project will renovate the southeast quadrant of the building to house a brewery, café and create a new city of Buena Vista visitor information center. Future phases of the project will create additional incubator space for small-scale manufacturing firms, a teleconferencing center available for public use and up to 10 loft apartments. This phase of the project estimates the creation of 13 new jobs.
Business Development Center | $900,000
The Economic Development Authority of Patrick County, in partnership with STEP Inc., will renovate downtown Stuart’s former hardware store into a multi-use facility to meet community needs including childcare services, co-working space and a business development center for use by entrepreneurs and local residents. This project anticipates the creation of 10 jobs and to provide childcare services for up to 75 children.
Lamb Arts Center | $850,000
City of Hopewell
The city of Hopewell will complete the Lamb Arts renovation project, turning the blighted structure into a space to provide community art classes, open studios, exhibitions, special events and venue rentals, providing a safe and reliable space for nonprofits to expand their youth after-school programming. This project anticipates the creation of four new immediate full-time equivalent jobs, with an additional 45 part-time jobs projected after five years of operation.
Cockram Mill Redevelopment | $850,000
Patrick County, in partnership with a private developer, will renovate the former Cockram Grist Mill into the Freehouse Meadows of Dan Brewery. The proposed facility will include a brewery, full-service restaurant, tap room, lodging facility and rentable venue space, and it will create an estimated 20 jobs.
Bailey Robbins Building Renovation | $850,000
Town of Pennington Gap
The town of Pennington Gap will renovate the former Bailey-Robbins building into a facility capable of housing two businesses. The town purchased the building with the intent of stimulating economic development activity in the surrounding downtown area. The renovation will allow the proposed coffee shop and radio station to become central points in the area, attracting visitors and creating 12-14 jobs.
Project Growler | $750,000
Town of Pulaski
The town of Pulaski will redevelop the General Chemical Company building into a state-of-the-art brewery. The owner of Great Wilderness Brewing Company has committed to operating at this location once renovations are complete. This project will create three to five full-time jobs and several part-time jobs.
Sunnyside Manor | $600,000
Town of Tazewell
The town of Tazewell will renovate the former Sunnyside Manor into a regionally recognizable, short-term housing development. The popular nearby driving route draws motorsport enthusiasts from around the world, and this project will enable the town to keep that tourism funding within the local economy by allowing visitors to remain in the locality overnight. The project expects to create at least seven jobs and generate new local and state taxes.
Factory Flats Revitalization | $450,000
Botetourt County, in partnership with Factory Flats LLC, will renovate the former Groendyk manufacturing facility into a mixed-use complex, complete with a brewery and retail operation, as well as up to 21 housing units on the site. This project will rejuvenate economic activity along the town’s main corridor, as well as provide much needed housing opportunities in the area. The brewery alone anticipates the creation of 10 new jobs, in addition to the generation of new local and state tax revenue.
411 North Main Redevelopment | $400,000
City of Waynesboro
The city of Waynesboro will redevelop a former department store in downtown Waynesboro into a vibrant retail and commercial space, including several retail, café, co-working and artisan spaces that will make a distinct contribution to the downtown district. This project will create at least eight new full-time jobs.
Town of Waverly Brewery | $300,000
Town of Waverly
The town of Waverly will redevelop a former furniture and home goods store into a mixed-use development with a brewery and event space on the ground floor. This phase of the project would bring the brewery and event space components into use, with the second phase creating seven apartment units on the second floor of the building. This project will act as a catalyst for further redevelopment in the area, creating one full-time position and up to seven new part-time positions upon opening.
1710 Tavern | $250,000
Town of Tappahannock
The town of Tappahannock, in partnership with Ross-Simpson Properties, will renovate a historic 1710 tavern, considered one of the oldest surviving ordinances in the commonwealth. In July 2022, the town suffered a massive fire that destroyed a large portion of the historic downtown area. The 1710 Tavern project will fill the need for fine dining in the river town that is positioned as a tourist destination. The project serves as a cornerstone in advancing the Tappahannock Main Street initiative and is expected to create over 30 new positions.
Shaw Building (GF) | $76,000
Charlotte County will renovate the abandoned Shaw building into a ready-to-use, mixed-use building applicable to many different business uses that will help stimulate economic growth and development in the area. The county will market the property across a myriad of potential uses, including manufacturing, shared support services and workforce development.
“These funded projects are transforming deteriorated structures that impede future economic development efforts into small businesses, tourism destinations, and sources of community pride,” said Secretary of Commerce and Trade Caren Merrick. “Through IRF grants, we are able to make investments in both Virginia’s infrastructure and vibrancy by supporting impactful projects, encouraging strategic collaborations, and fostering economic development efforts across the Commonwealth.”
The 20 awarded projects will create over 600 jobs and leverage an additional $72.8 million in public and private investment and include five mixed-use projects that will create nearly 200 new residential units. Since 2012, the IRF program has funded 38 projects that have revitalized vacant, blighted buildings.
These projects have generated more than $121 million in other public and private investment and resulted in the creation of more than 485 jobs across the Commonwealth.
Photo of White Mill in Danville, VA (one of the awarded projects) is by Acroterion via Wikipedia.