StevenRocks

Roanoke development

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The Jefferson Motor Lodge is reemerging as a likely site for the new Social Security Building. Roanoke College owns the property, which it leases to National College of Business and Technology, which runs the motel and in turn leases the commercial space to Thai Orchid. Apparently there are about 200 jobs at the current Social Sec. Building, and 2 years ago there was a proposal for a $15 million building to house the new Soc Sec offices at the JML site. Putting 200 decent paying federal jobs in the middle of downtown sounds very positive. At the same time, as Wishneff commented, the site could house a much larger building. I think I would support the location behind the Poff building over the JML site, but if it comes down to JML vs a more suburban location, I'll support downtown. story

If the JML site is chosen, the building should be tall and narrow. I'd hate to see some 2 story piece of crap take up 2/3 of the lot. Make it a 5-6 story building with a width of 40-50 feet.

Edited by mclawsdrive

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I guess we will see what the market brings. I think the article said there were two bids? I'm just glad the motel is going away. It doesn't help make Elmwood park a nice place to be when there is not a festival going on. I would also like to see the SS building go behing the Poff building and save this prime spot for something a little more substantial, but beggers can't be choosers. 200 jobs at the southern end of Jefferson street will be good to further stimulate redevelopment down that way.

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200 jobs at the southern end of Jefferson street will be good to further stimulate redevelopment down that way.

Especially with the fate of the Patrick Henry Hotel up in the air. I really hope the owners of the PH don't just give up on it like they seem to be doing. That's one of my favorite buildings in downtown, hate to see it being neglected.

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Countryside's contract with the city has been extended for another year. Additionally, council is giving approval to a swap of several acres with the airport, and a possible sale of some land to Newbern-Trane. full story

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Looks like the Jefferson Lodge site is the winner. Now let's just hope they put up something decent looking. I did a quick search on the developer but didn't see any examples of their past work.

http://www.roanoke.com/news/breaking/wb/129177

The JML lodge site would be ideal for high rise housing/hotel/park deck/office/retail. Think of the possibilities being next to the Park, Market and new Art Museum. Unfortuanately, reality exists that the government usually puts up boring buildings and with the lack of capital in Roanoke, very little gets built here.

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The new SS building (if it were 5-6 stories) could be placed toward the back of the parcel, taking up almost the entire 160 ft width, and extending about 85 feet toward Jefferson St. This would leave the first 230 feet (x 125 ft) of the parcel open and available for a future building. The very end (last 85 ft) of Bullitt Ave could be closed for security reasons, but Bullitt would still provide access and parking to the building. This would allow for a 75,000 sf SS building, while the remaining land would allow a future building footprint, after leaving a buffer of around 25,000 sf per floor. Put up a 20 story building and we have half a million sf of taxable real estate AND still get to keep the SS office downtown.

Of course, even if the SS building were only 3 stories, if it were place toward the back of the lot it would still leave substantial room along Jefferson, just not as much.

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Although Roanoke is not as far along with downtown housing as neighboring cities, the possibilities for downtown are immense. Downtown Greensboro is putting up a high rise condo with balconies that overlook the downtown ball park. When I saw the sketch of the building I thought "What is there to see in Greensboro"? If something like that would be here what magnificient views!!

There are so many northern transplants moving to NC who can afford upscale downtown housing, its a pity they don't look at downtown Roanoke. I have been impressed with our new city manager who is not "born and bred" here who is really moving this City forward. Lets hope the SS building won't be an eyesore and a bigger picture can be realized at that vital location for many years to come.

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Yeah, a new highrise residential building would be pretty sweet. The views would be fantastic. I saw one the other day proposed for Asheville that is 24 stories and looks pretty darn good. Just need a developer who thinks they can sell the units for a worthwhile profit. I would guess that a new state of the art building would get sold out quickly because there is no competition. All the current housing going in is rehab of older buildings which is great, but an expansion of the market is in order. I bet most units would be sold to transplants. There is plenty of space to build downtown.

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Roanoke could really use some of the creative energies of out of town developers. Our city at times seems so mired in the past our own local money folks don't want to fight the architectural review boards and other interests who are committed to keeping downtown the same. I can only hope with the construction of our bold new art museum more attention will be paid to downtown. A recent USA Today article highlighted the trend of the wealthy folks moving back to downtown from the suburbs to escape the ever-increasing problems of the 'burbs. If downtown Roanoke can attract people who will pay $1million for a condo, I think the time is right to build something new here!

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I would love to see some new building instead of all the old retail building converted to condos.

Think about it. When downtown has enough critical mass for retail again, where will the stores go?

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Its rather sad to see all of that potential here go to waste! The new Art Museum is a magnificient

structure and it may spur some development downtown like new mixed-use developments. But from a practical reality lesson living in Roanoke, that will probably be all we will see there for many years to come. I think the locals like Roanoke to stay the same forever and I think that way of thinking is not good for business and its why so many of the young move away. But I guess in the end maybe too much change may not work for our City like it does for Charlotte for example. Maybe Roanoke's destiny was to become a really nice place to retire as MONEY magazine always reports.

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Perhaps. However, in the last 3 years or so, something seems to be different. The feel is starting to change a bit. Lets not forget, there was no Fresh Market, Ukrops, Starbucks, or Panera. The art museum was only a dream whose design had not been made public. There was no Carilion Clinic on the horizon, no new medical school set to break ground. There was no new hotel coming to the biomedical park. There was no real talk of streetcars or an outdoor amphitheater or rehabing the market. Barely any redeveloped housing had taken hold downtown. There was no Miller's Hill furthering the rehab of Old Southwest. Victory stadium was still standing and sucking all the energy away from anything that mattered.

Mind you, there is still a long way to go and obviously many who are resistant to change remain. However, when I first joined this board a couple years ago, I said those voices finally seemed to be losing more (though not all) battles than in the first five years I lived here (1998-2003) in which NOTHING happened. If the next three years can be as fruitful, there is no telling how far this urban renewal might go. I try to be an optomist by nature though .... so others may see it differently.

Edited by bmedguy

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Roanoke has seen some major changes just in the last few years. Many folks who haven't been here in that time would probably notice the place isn't the same. It does have a new feel, maybe its due to a few new city council members, city manager or maybe its due to the fact so many of our neighboring cities haven't done so well. Whatever is happening, lets hope it continues!

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I would love to see some new building instead of all the old retail building converted to condos.

Think about it. When downtown has enough critical mass for retail again, where will the stores go?

That's a good point. Some vintage buildings restored for retail would be nice to see.

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The article about the construction of Carilion Clinic and the medical school aslo talks about the trouble Cambria Suites has had. However, it's my understanding that the city and the developer have agreed to an incentive package of 1 million that will be voted on in October. A majority of Council appears to be on board, so there is simply a delay here. The project has not died.

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The article about the construction of Carilion Clinic and the medical school aslo talks about the trouble Cambria Suites has had. However, it's my understanding that the city and the developer have agreed to an incentive package of 1 million that will be voted on in October. A majority of Council appears to be on board, so there is simply a delay here. The project has not died.

Good to know. I drove by the site on Monday and became frustrated. The same little piece of wall is still there with no change on the site since the last time I visited.

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The new medical school's plans were quite impressive. I didn't know Carillion was really that serious about a medical college here. I think with the college, clinic, a new suite type Hotel is a necessity.

I hope the deal with the City goes through with the Hotel but watch out for that kooky city council. Does anyone know what will happen to the old building that currently houses the Jefferson college of health science? I believe there was a rumor a few years ago that it will be torn down. I hope they will keep it for student housing.

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The new medical school's plans were quite impressive. I didn't know Carillion was really that serious about a medical college here. I think with the college, clinic, a new suite type Hotel is a necessity.

I hope the deal with the City goes through with the Hotel but watch out for that kooky city council. Does anyone know what will happen to the old building that currently houses the Jefferson college of health science? I believe there was a rumor a few years ago that it will be torn down. I hope they will keep it for student housing.

I would hate to see a 10 story building (one that appears sturdy) torn down. It would be great for housing, with a little street level retail or dining too.

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It was definitely going to come down when the plan was for JCHS build a new facility. Now that they are moving into the old Community Hospital building, I think plans may change. The college has plans to continue growing and will need more than one building. If it doesn't come down, the place needs a serious gut rehab. I imagine most prisons to feel homey compared to the interior of that place. The ceilings can't be much more that 7 ft, lighting is awful and it feels like a cave in the hallways. I would also like to see a ten story building stay, but if they are going to have a gym, student center etc. in the future, the students deserve and the college needs a better facility than this. That can come from either a top to bottom rehab or a new facility.

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Maybe they could add a good foot or two by eliminating the drop ceilings (if thats what they have, I've never been inside the building). They could renovate the way so many downtown apartments and condos are done; exposing the brick, pipes and conduit. As far as a gym, student center etc., is there any vacant space close by? Seems like there are quite a few big parking lots in that area, as well as a vacant grassy area a little bit to the south, along the interstate. Just wishfull thinking, I guess.

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