StevenRocks

Roanoke development

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The summit of Mill Mtn is just less than a 3 mile drive from the parkway. Over 2 miles of that drive is on a spur road owned by the Parkway. The entire route is very natural in scenery and feels just like driving on the regular Blue Ridge Parkway. This proposed development is just what Roanoke needs right now and I hope it comes to fruition. There is a faction of citizens who want to prevent any development on the mountain, to keep it 'natural'. That seems odd considering this new development would be built in the cleared grassy area where the old inn was. But I guarantee there will be vocal opposition. Hopefully the majority will see that this could be the shot in the arm Roanoke needs right now.

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New County library in the works.

Site preparation could begin as soon as October for a dramatically new public library in south Roanoke County.

The board of supervisors gave the go-ahead Tuesday for detailed planning for the project, which could open its doors by the fall of 2009.

Diana Rosapepe, director of library services, walked the supervisors through the conceptual plans so far -- which describe a library complete with fireplaces, a coffee shop with a drive-through window, after-hours pickup, Wi-Fi computer connections, self checkout, and lots of glass overlooking a natural wetlands area just out the back door.

http://www.roanoke.com/news/roanoke/wb/wb/xp-104510

The sketch they had in Sunday's paper looked pretty cool. I hope they go through with it for one reason it's pretty much within walking distance of where I work. As long as they put a foot bridge across Back Creek I could run up there on my lunch break.

Now if only the city would get in gear and do something about there library too.

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Well, new development is causing wringing of hands once again. Message boards on Roanoke.com have people just sure that an inn on top of the mountain will ruin it ( I think it would be a great asset providing visitors terrific views of the city). Today, there is an article in the paper that Center in the Square may displace vendors and store owners in a renovation that would make the museums and theater much more visible. I don't think it is such a bad idea. My parents have visited many times and my Dad asked me last weekend where this Center in the Square was. We had only been to the market area at least a dozen times in their visits. I had even taken the inside! If you don't know it is there, Center is very easy to miss at street level.

The controversy is it would eliminate a significant number of vendors and displace some stores. By no means should vendors be eliminated. However, I see this as an opportunity to improve that area. The way the booths are set now, very close to the storefronts, you can barely get through on a busy Saturday in the summer. It actually becomes an unpleasant experience. However, reconfiguring market street so that it is a plaza with vendors in the middle could compensate by having two set of stalls with vendors in the middle. This would provide greater space for their customers to browse, open up store/restaurant fronts to make them more visible and provide more space for outdoor dining for those restaurants. Relocating the displaced stores to the street level of the Church Ave parking garage would help facilitate the flow of pedestrian traffic to Jefferson Street that has been proposed in an effort to spur revitalization of that corridor.

I fear all this is too radical in terms of change to fly. However, it would help address the very things that have been identified as problems that the city wanted to address in it's master plan. Of course, I thought the art museum was way too radical to get built and was pleasantly surprised, so....... we shall see.

Edited by bmedguy

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bmedguy, aren't the stores and vendors a source of income for Mill Mountain Playhouse and the Museum within the building?

Can you post the Times article?

Here's hoping the Inn atop the mountain gets approval.

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That is good question and I don't know the answer. I would speculate that vendors do not pay anything to Center as they are on city property. I would imagine the stores/restaurants in in the Center building pay a lease that provides significant income. I hadn't considered that. Here is the article.

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The vendors in question are those who sell wares outside in the Farmer's Market, so any money they turn over would be to the city, not Center.

Displacing those folks is a bad move, IMO. Roanoke can build all the museums and downtown lofts it wants, but in the end, it's still Roanoke, and one of the things that makes it such is the Farmer's Market. It runs rings around Richmond's and is one of the things I like about visiting Roanoke in the spring/summer. And to force out an institution like the Weiner Stand? Really bad move, even if I don't eat hot dogs anymore.

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The vendors in question are those who sell wares outside in the Farmer's Market, so any money they turn over would be to the city, not Center.

Displacing those folks is a bad move, IMO. Roanoke can build all the museums and downtown lofts it wants, but in the end, it's still Roanoke, and one of the things that makes it such is the Farmer's Market. It runs rings around Richmond's and is one of the things I like about visiting Roanoke in the spring/summer. And to force out an institution like the Weiner Stand? Really bad move, even if I don't eat hot dogs anymore.

I would agree getting rid of the any vendors or shrinking the market would be a very bad idea. I think actually EVERYONE agrees with that or they just don't get Roanoke. However, I believe it is possible to reconfigure things so that it actually potentially EXPANDS the good thing we have going. It's not farmer's market vs. museums and lofts IMO. It's finding a way for both to flourish. Cities are organic entities with parts that grow flourish and change. If change is resisted too hard, then it will still come. Unfortunately it will be in the form of decay. Great cities are continually redefining themselves while their history becomes part of their fabric. For instance, we are a railroad town historically. That history should be embraced and I believe it is through things like the Link museum and the railwalk. However, that era is never coming back as a primary an economic mainstay and should no longer be looked to as a definition of who we are unless we want the city to just whither away. Innovative change scares people but it is good.

I 100% agree the market should not suffer for the sake of Center. I equally do not think that Center should suffer for the sake of the market. I think finding a way both can flourish should be the goal.

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At a news conference on Wednesday, Valley Forward, a group of young professionals from Roanoke, proposed a new inn/restaurant on top of mill mountain at the site of the old Rockledge Inn. The proposal has the support of a majority of city council members and members of the Fishburn Family, whose ancestor, J.B. Fishburn, donated the mtn. to the city.

Article has some renderings of the proposed project. Be sure to click on the photo gallery link, which has more sketches of the project and a photo of the original Rockledge Inn.

Looks like this idea has officially died. I saw on television this weekend that the Fisburn family which has final say has stated they don't want it built. They said they support the principles of Valley Forward, trying to advocate for progressive change in the valley, but that this project should not be done.

Edited by bmedguy

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Funny that the original donor, J.P. Fishburn, wasn't against putting the original Rockledge Inn on that same spot, yet now his grandkids think an inn on that spot would go against the intentions of said donor.

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I 100% agree the market should not suffer for the sake of Center. I equally do not think that Center should suffer for the sake of the market. I think finding a way both can flourish should be the goal.
From what I could tell Center's plan isn't bad, but they've lost the public relations war on this idea. They underestimated how dear that Roanoke's Market (especially the weiner stand) was to many people. Not to mention, they didn't appear to connect their plans with the Downtown Master Plan the city put together just shortly before this was announced. They're going to have to go back to the drawing board, I fear.

Sentimentalists have declared holy war on Ronaoke, having lost battles on Victory Stadium and the Art Museum, and they're shooting down everything that comes out of the gate.

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Upcoming retail/restaurant development in Roanoke will include:

- a 13,000 sf addition at Target

-the (delayed) July opening of Roanoke's 2nd Panera and Barnes and Noble locations

-Wet Seal and Verizon inside Valley View

-Wine Gourmet will relocate from Daleville to a new 3200 sf spot near the new Ukrops. Old location was 1500 sf.

-T Bone Jacks will renovate and reopen the 1650 Braeburn Drive location in Salem formerly occupied by Western Sizzlin.

full article - roanoke times

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Do you know Chris Chittum in Planning? I interned for the planning department about 8 years ago, before he became Planning Administrator. Back then David Diaz (director of Downtown Roanoke Inc.) was also a planner.

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Do you know Chris Chittum in Planning? I interned for the planning department about 8 years ago, before he became Planning Administrator. Back then David Diaz (director of Downtown Roanoke Inc.) was also a planner.
Chris Chittum is now over the Planning department; my boss's boss. Very nice fellow.

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Upcoming retail/restaurant development in Roanoke will include:

- a 13,000 sf addition at Target

-the (delayed) July opening of Roanoke's 2nd Panera and Barnes and Noble locations

-Wet Seal and Verizon inside Valley View

-Wine Gourmet will relocate from Daleville to a new 3200 sf spot near the new Ukrops. Old location was 1500 sf.

-T Bone Jacks will renovate and reopen the 1650 Braeburn Drive location in Salem formerly occupied by Western Sizzlin.

full article - roanoke times

Seems like a smart move for the Wine Gourmet since Ukrops doesn't sell wine. I was thinking I'd have to go to Kroger to buy wine, now I can just go next door. Glad to see something else go up in Ivy Market as well.

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The vacant tract of land at Brambleton and Overland will be developed with 7 houses using 'green' technology. roanoke times The project is to be called Madison Field (hmm, I wonder how they came up with that?) and houses will be priced at around $400,000.

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The vacant tract of land at Brambleton and Overland will be developed with 7 houses using 'green' technology. roanoke times The project is to be called Madison Field (hmm, I wonder how they came up with that?) and houses will be priced at around $400,000.

Maybe it's getting its name from the nearby Madison School. Madison Field sounds sorta classy, IMO.

What section of the city is it? Near one of the big shopping centers?

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Maybe it's getting its name from the nearby Madison School. Madison Field sounds sorta classy, IMO.

What section of the city is it? Near one of the big shopping centers?

Yeah, I was being facetious for those that are familiar with the location. I think the name is accurate for what is is now; a field next to James Madison Middle School.

The location is in SW city in a relatively affluent area. Towers 'Mall', with Kroger/Fresh Market Radio shack etc. is about a 5 minute drive away, as is the nearby Ukrops. In the other direction, Tanglewood Mall is about the same distance, maybe a minute or two farther away.

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Office condos seems to make sense to me, though I am sure there are risks to consider.

On a different note, after twenty-seven years of construction, Ukrops announced it will open it's doors on June 27th! :good:

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Finally an actual date, although technically they won't open by the end of spring as they said they would. It's really not their fault though, the delay has been the underground parking.

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Seems like a smart move for the Wine Gourmet since Ukrops doesn't sell wine. I was thinking I'd have to go to Kroger to buy wine, now I can just go next door. Glad to see something else go up in Ivy Market as well.

Here in Richmond, there's a small cottage industry of wine & beer shops opening in the same center as (or very close by) Ukrops stores. I suspected someone would open one up at Ivy Market.

Has anyone actually been in Wine Gourmet? Roanoke's severely lacking in quality beer merchants and it would be great if they were able to fill that niche somewhat.

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The city has rejected the current proposal for developing countryside. This is after the developers tweaked the plan to address concerns voiced by both citizens and city leaders. Wonder if it will end up being a municipal golf course run by parks and rec? story

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I always had mixed feelings about this one. I am pro urban development that increases density, but I think city greenspace is also very important. If it stays a golf course I don't that is a terrible thing as long as it stays cheap and accesible to the average citizen. As low a the planes buzz that land, I think that would have severely limited the market for housing. Maybe they can expand the recreational options beyond golf.

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