- Last Updated on 08:33 AM 10/12/12
- BY Danielle Vaughn
It provided many a Halifax County resident with employment over the years, and it maintained a steadfast presence in the Town of Halifax.
Burlington Industries and its days of bustling textile manufacturing are now long gone. In coming weeks, the same will be said of the 387,000 square foot building that once housed one of the county’s most productive industries.
But hope springs eternal that potential buyers will bring new business and jobs to the 90-acre industrial site located on the edge of town.
D. H. Griffin has taken ownership of the Burlington building located at 1101 Cowford Road and has plans to demolish it within the next month or so.
Director of the Greensboro Division of D. H. Griffin David Dutherage said he anticipates demolition beginning in mid-November and ending sometime in early spring.
Before moving forward with the demolition, the company has to finish the permit process and deal with “a couple of environmental issues.”
Halifax Town Manager Carl Espy said Tuesday, Griffin has secured a zoning permit to proceed with the demolition.
The decision to demolish the building was made, Dutherage said, because renovating it would be too costly due to the extensive damage to the interior, incidents of vandalism and its leaky roof.
Many of the systems and equipment have been removed over the past couple of years, Dutherage added.
The ultimate goal of this project, according to Dutherage, is to salvage and recycle material from demolition and make the property available to attract new business and jobs here.
D. H. Griffin plans to partner with the Town of Halifax and Halifax County Industrial Development Authority to market the property to potential industrial businesses.
“We hope to have jobs and future investment in the Burlington site,” said Pasty Vaughan, Halifax County Industrial Development Authority assistant director.
The town’s comprehensive plan calls for supporting the development of the former Burlington property, Vaughan added.
At this time neither D. H. Griffin nor the authority have specific businesses to which they are trying to market the property, both parties said.
The Halifax County Industrial Development Authority has been awarded a $50,000 Industrial Revitalization Fund grant from the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development. The grant will be used for feasibility planning for development of a strategic market position for the former Burlington Industries property.
Originally, when the authority applied for the grant, it was to be used for partial demolition of the building in hopes of saving a portion of the building for readaptive use.
But upon closer examination, damage from a fire and acts of vandalism made preservation unfeasible and demolition a necessity.
The authority also received a $50,000 grant from the Virginia Brownfields Restoration and Economic Redevelopment Assistance Fund to match the $50,000 Industrial Revitalization Fund which is largely being used for the abatement of hazardous materials used in construction of the building.
Pacific Mills Company built the building in 1946 when asbestos was commonly used in construction, and Burlington Industries acquired the building in 1955 when they took over the company.
The Halifax plant was part of the Worsted Fabric Division of Burlington Industries, which included five other plants.
The Halifax plant produce worsted yarn for upper end men and women’s apparel.
According to Coleman Speece, who served as the division’s vice president, more than 6,500 were employed in the Worsted Fabric Division with more than 1,100 being employed at the Halifax Plant.
Speece said at the company’s peak, the payroll for both the Halifax plant and the two plants in Clarksville was more than $85 million.
Burlington Industries filed for bankruptcy in 2001 and laid off 60 employees from the Halifax Plant.
After 47 years of operation, the plant closed its doors in December 2002 due to the impact of imports that resulted in the elimination of protective tariffs on the worsted fabric industry, Speece said.
The building has not been used since.