It was one year ago, during the inaugural meeting of the Danville City Council, that Mayor Alonzo Jones addressed the citizens, saying that the year 2023 was going to be one of the most exciting years that the city of Danville had ever seen.
Vice Mayor Dr. Gary Miller joined the mayor, adding, “This is going to be a banner year. We have some big things coming.”
As 2023 ended, they were proven correct. Consider the following events:
- In January 2023, the city celebrated the commencement of construction for the Dan River Falls project, which, when completed, will transform an iconic structure from its original role as part of a sprawling textile operation along the Dan River into a community hub with a mixture of complementary uses including housing, office, and retail.
- In March 2023, the city gathered for the groundbreaking of Riverfront Park, which, when completed, will be unlike any other park in Danville.
- In May 2023, the city celebrated the opening of the temporary Danville Casino, which since its opening has generated more than $100 million in gaming revenue and several million in tax revenue and direct payments for the city. The permanent Caesars Virginia casino resort project is expected to be complete in late 2024.
- In October 2023, federal and state officials joined Danville and Pittsylvania County leaders at a groundbreaking ceremony for the Navy Regional Training Center in the Cyber Park. When completed in 2025, the center will train 800 to 1,000 students annually, providing well-paying jobs and filling critical vacancies across the nation’s defense industrial base.
- In November 2023, Gov. Glenn Youngkin joined local leaders in celebrating the opening of Tyson Foods’ newest plant located in Cane Creek Centre industrial park. The $300 million, fully cooked food production facility is one of the company’s most-automated plants to date, and at full operation will produce nearly 400 jobs.
- In December 2023, city and county leaders marked the completion of a newly constructed shell building in the Cyber Park. Shell buildings are a great incentive because they reduce the startup time by many months for any company looking to relocate or expand. The building is designed to meet the needs of modern manufacturers. At 30,000 square feet, it is the largest publicly owned shell building in Virginia, and it can be expanded to 60,000 square feet and upfitted to suit specific needs of the end user.
In addition to these transformational projects, city leaders were busy in 2023 attending ceremonies for projects at various stages throughout the city, including groundbreakings and grand openings in the River District, where more and more buildings once vacant now have new life as living spaces as places to shop, eat and go for entertainment. Since the River District Development Plan was initiated in 2010, $55 million in public spending has resulted in more than $300 million in private investment.
So, what’s ahead for 2024?
The Dan River Falls, Riverfront Park and Caesars Virginia casino resort are on track for completion. Tyson Foods anticipates reaching its full capacity in mid-year, and therefore increasing employment from the current 215 employees to the expected 400.
The economic development offices in Danville and Pittsylvania County will continue to market the new public shell building. Also, they will be busy marketing the Southern Virginia Megasite at Berry Hill, which is located just west of the city limits. The megasite is the state’s largest and one of the largest on the East Coast. It has achieved the important status as a Quest Site Solutions Certified Mega Site/Super Park. This certification will attract more potential developers. Truly, Danville and the Dan River Region are