VINTON, Va. – Vinton Town Council has given the go-ahead for a major redevelopment project.
On Tuesday night Town Council approved a rezoning for the historic Gish Mill site.
It stands at the gateway to Vinton on Gus Nicks Boulevard and hides a hidden history. Vacant since 2014, the old mill has sat decaying over the years.
“The Gish Mill structure is actually the founding building of the town, Vinton was actually called Gish Mill before it became Vinton in 1884,” Vinton Principal Planner Nathan McClung said.
The building has seen better days, but its best may be yet to come.
“This is one of the most important, most historically significant buildings in the town of Vinton so we’re really looking forward to this project,” McClung said.
Tuesday night council rezoned the property to mixed-use, which paves the way for re-development. David Hill is one of the developers ready to bring this project to life, alongside Dave Trinkle, who owns the Fork restaurants in Roanoke.
“What we’re going to try to do is a historic preservation project that retains a whole lot of the existing mill structure,” Hill said.
The latest drawings show off a restaurant and small store on the ground level, a speakeasy in the basement, and less than a dozen residential units. The developers have not yet decided if they will be short-term rentals or typical rental units.
The mill was located along the water to power its operation, and now Hill hopes to take advantage of that amenity in a new way.
“Put a great big deck on the back so people can be outside and enjoy the stream,” Hill said. “As you go by the Gish Mill it’s hard to even believe that there’s a beautiful stream back there.”
Construction is slated to begin this summer and finish by next year. Many of the historic features look rough now but will be polished up and help drive more growth in Vinton.
“So it’s going to be good to have that building on the corridor where there’s already so much going on, Billy Bird apartments, the Glade Creek Greenway and future redevelopment projects along there,” McClung said.