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aout

Roanoke Newspaper says Cheesecake Factory, Kohls are not coming...

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I've had a discussion with a reliable source two weeks ago who confirmed that the Cheesecake Factory is coming to Roanoke. Kohls and ValueCity may come. The major newspaper in Roanoke today ran a front-page article in their business section saying the Cheescake Factory, IKEA, and Kohls do NOT plan on coming to Roanoke in the near future. The developer has received 20 of 24 signed contracts on homes it needs to purchase for the Valley View area Power Center they are developing for 4 or 5 big box stores. The $10M I-581 bridge project was approved 6 months ago by the city. Where is the press? Is Costco abandoning the Power Center for the NW Hershberger/Cove Road site adjacent to the developing electrical plant?

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The only cities at all similar to Roanoke which have the Cheesecake Factory are Des Moines, Iowa, and Dayton, Ohio, and both of them have much bigger MSA sizes. Greensboro-Winston Salem does not even have one yet. I find it very implausible a Cheesecake Factory would come anytime soon. With Wal-Mart, K-Mart, and Target, the Roanoke department store market is pretty saturated. If K-Mart goes under, it wouldn't surprise me to see Kohls arrive. Since Target and Wal-Mart are at Valley View, I'd think that the Tanglewood-419 area would be more attractive to Kohls.

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Richmond has a Cheesecake factory. It's semi-gourmet quality in oversized portions appeals to the average Joe with a little extra money to burn. There are at least a dozen local restaurants that far surpass the quality of Cheesecake factory. I think it would do well in Roanoke in a suburban mall setting. IKEA is extremely unlikely to come to Roanoke in the foreseeable future. They claim to require a population of 2 million within a 60 mile radius. Roanoke probably has about 1 million within that radius, so it will be quite some time (decades) before IKEA moves in. Richmond and Hampton Roads will see one first. ValueCity, I could do without, but they would probably do very well in Roanoke, especially in the Valley View area. I fail to see why Kohls would find the smaller Lynchburg MSA to have more children than Roanoke's. Especially considering the larger region Roanoke pulls shoppers from, I would guess Roanoke has at least 50% more potential Kohls shoppers than Lynchburg. So it would surprise me if there wasn't a Roanoke Kohls within a few years.

And Aout, any more info about the 581 bride project or Valley View Power Center plans would be greatly appreciated.

The press is dying from attrition. Newspapers are cutting their staff and will be less and less likely to get 'scoops' as the years go on. Welcome to the brave new world of 'rumor blogging'.

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I also don't think that the Cheesecake Factory is "all that" and think that more locally owned and ethnic places or more upscale national chains are generally better options. The reason it likely would not locate in Roanoke is that Cheesecake Factory locations are so large that they need a huge volume of customers to turn a profit.

Where was it reported that Kohls located in Lynchburg over Roanoke because Lynchburg has more children? If you add up the populations of all the counties and cities that are roughly within a one hour or so drive of Roanoke, the population is around 1 million.

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I didn't explain the children comment very well. The Roanoke Times article about these stores stated that Kohls wasn't interested in Roanoke and that Kohls looks for areas with lots of families with children. I was suprised at the explanation, given that Lynchburg has a Kohls, yet is a smaller market than Roanoke. I'd like to see more in depth analysis of this topic in the Roanoke Times. I feel like they're providing unsatisfactory explanations and not questioning obvious contradictions such as the Kohls situation.

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The bridge across 581 will connect Valley View Mall at the Ashley Furniture store with the Western side of I-581. Cheescake factory will move in late '08 at the best retail location in Western Virginia - the SW corner of 581 and Hershberger Road which is now 10 acres of farmland. The $10M bridge project was finalized months ago, a second option on the 10 acres of farmland has been secured by a delveloper called Continental, and a contract to demolish 24 nearby homes has been finalized. Other potential tennants include Kohls, Value City, and Costco. Costco may move to the NW corner of Hershberger and Cove road adjacent to a new electrical plant currently under construction. Costco is coming-- a major Costco supplier's Regional VP is iactivly invoved with negotiating for their business. Hall and Associates, a go-between local real estate co. for Continental, has come to a contract agreement with 22 of the 24 small brick homes adjacent to the west of the 10 acres. Demolition/constuction may begin this Spring.

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South of the deveopment is another group of homes, and then 60 additional acres which streches south along the western side of 581 to Orange Avenue, or route 460 which connects Roanoke with Lynchburg and Richmond. This area will be phased into the development in the near future.

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I heard a rumor that Kohls was interested in the Southern Hills Walmart site on 220.

South of the deveopment is another group of homes, and then 60 additional acres which streches south along the western side of 581 to Orange Avenue, or route 460 which connects Roanoke with Lynchburg and Richmond. This area will be phased into the development in the near future.

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I'm pretty well connected to the planning and economic development communities in Roanoke and I haven't heard any of those rumors.

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I've now heard the same rumors from another source. Perhaps nothing has been submitted to the planning dept yet. You would think someone there would have to have Ok'd, or be aware of plans for a bridge crossing 581, but maybe its hush hush. Anyway, I'm almost positive I know which houses are planned for demolition, regardless of how close to reality these plans really are. They are on Glenroy St and Kirkland Dr, off of Ordway Dr. There are a total of 24 houses on both of those streets, which makes me conclude that those are the 'doomed' houses.

I'm assuming that ingress and egress for this new development would be through Ordway Dr as well as across the new bridge. In order for commercial development to expand much farther south in the future, homes on Brooklyn Dr, Aspen St Fairland Rd and probably Meadowview would need to be aquired. South of there though, is a rather large undeveloped area fronting 581 directly across from the Mall and Walmart.. Much of it is cleared land already.

Two other things that could help improve and expand VVM's prominence:

-Create a southbound exit ramp off 581 to access the Valley View Blvd Bridge. The lane on the bridge is already there. All that is needed is the actual exit ramp, no bridge widening is necessary.

Put a northbound access ramp to 581 from Valley View Blvd. Currently the right lane just merges with the left, but it was obviously designed so a northbound ramp could be added later.

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The 24 homes aren't "doomed" - they're each getting 2x their value! Ingress and Egress will come from Ordway Drive and via the new bridge/Valley View. Glenroy was originally going to be a deadend, but right-of-way wouldn't work near the Hershberger to 581 south ramp.

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None of the land supposedly in this development is zoned for retail sales, and a lot of it is in a floodplain.

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None of the land supposedly in this development is zoned for retail sales, and a lot of it is in a floodplain.

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The bridge has been officially approved by the city last fall. The floodplain will be dealt with like last year's Ukrop's property which was built on the river. Hard to believe the Walgreen's next to Ukrops is a week or two from being under roof! My wife's cousin who develops/builds grocery stores says it's nothing for a large box store to spend $15M+ on a site now days.

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Looked at the Google Earth pic- Ashley Furniture is the big store with the big angled parking lot which is where the bridge is supposed to connect. Not sure if it will be north or south. The next bldg south with the blue roof is Pier 1, then Applebees, then an abandoned bank, and then the Lewis-Gale medical center. The abandoned bank would seem like a good place for the bridge -- it's for sale for $1.5M.

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There may not be a bridge - the current valley view bridge may spur off to the north west of I-581 along a new frontage road heading north along the west side of the interstate toward Hershberger to connect with the new big box stores. The new powerplant at the NW corner of Cove and Hershberger will supply the needed power to the development.

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There may not be a bridge - the current valley view bridge may spur off to the north west of I-581 along a new frontage road heading north along the west side of the interstate toward Hershberger to connect with the new big box stores. The new powerplant at the NW corner of Cove and Hershberger will supply the needed power to the development.

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The site they showed in the paper makes more sense than what I assumed the developers were going to do, but that area is still at least three to four years from being a retail development. The land is residential and most of it is still being negotiated for purchase, not to mention the rezoning and traffic improvements a development like that will need.

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All of the homes but two have settled months ago to be purchased, and the purchase agreements are good throught the end of 2008. The developer has an option on the 10 acres through early 2009 and may be waiting to land an anchor to begin the development. The floodplain area would be mostly elimiated by plowing the higher hill area on the western side. Cheesecake Factory is supposed to be for sure, but Costco may go to Cove/Hershberger and Kohls may not be for sure. Continental, the developer, won't start a development without an anchor. Continental's hdqtrs is in Menomonie Falls, WI where Kohls's is HQ'd (WI Senator Herb Kohl's family started it). I'm from Brookfield, which is next to Menomonie Falls. Our family got 90% of our clothes from Kohl's growing up. I also got my first hunting license from Gander Mountain in Brookfield-- talk about another massive Roaonke retail development. After the Sportsman Warehouse opened on Hershberger (or announced plans to come) Gander Mountain decided to locate on I-81 and Plantation (or vice-versa). Continental probably hopes to see such a chain reaction with their development.

Big box stores entered 2008 with expansion plans at 50% of what they they did in 2007 because of the uncertain economic climate. Is it a favorable time for retail expansion now? Retailers must be concered about the possible recession, but developers must be eager with interest rates dropping. Stores continue to pop up everywhere. Today I saw a Bojangles under construction on the NE corner of Airport road and Peter's Creek (it's on a hill surrounded by acres of trees and nothing). Today I also drove by the new Caeser's pizza w/drive-thru behind Tower's Mall on Brandon Ave. today and saw it open for business for the first time. Oh, and have you seen the huge "City-Center" mall going up on 419 next to the Allstate building near Lewis-Gale Medical center! WOW! There are three buildings up already, and the building on 419 I've heard is going to be a new Bone Fish Restaurant. I've been to the first one in Tampa, FL. I'm pretty sure the chain is owned by Outback. Oh, and not to mention the continued expansion of the 419 strip center just west of Tanglewood- there's a bunch of new stores going in. Sure hope I'm talking about the new Cheescake Factory soon...

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Bonefish Grill is definitely opening on 419 next to Allstate, but other than a couple of other stores, that mall is stymied by the lack of anchor stores.

As for this Hershberger development, we'll have to see what happens. I can't imagine Cheesecake is committal and Kohl's isn't. That seems a little backward.

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Bonefish Grill is definitely opening on 419 next to Allstate, but other than a couple of other stores, that mall is stymied by the lack of anchor stores.

As for this Hershberger development, we'll have to see what happens. I can't imagine Cheesecake is committal and Kohl's isn't. That seems a little backward.

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I hope to see the plans for the Hershberger development this week. The guy that has a copy says the Cheesecake Factory is definate and the only store in the plans that's for sure.

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