Monday, May 10, 2010

Downtown Roanoke Development Part II - May 2010

A host of exciting new development projects are currently ongoing in the downtown Roanoke central business district, with numerous others in the planning and conceptual pipeline. Continuing the recent trend for downtown revitalization, the new projects focus on increasing the critical mass of downtown residents and improving the quality of life of those that live and work downtown. Mixed-use facilities and recreation/entertainment venues seem to be popular in the market at this time. The following photos document the progress of some ongoing downtown projects.

1. 108 Campbell Avenue - A joint project by Spectrum Design, LLC and Breakell, Inc. will renovate this formal retail building into commercial space on the first floor, offices on the second, and condo/lofts on the 3rd and 4th floors. The project aims for LEED certification and is taking advantage of historic preservation tax credits to reduce capital costs. Part of the process for obtaining these tax credits calls for restoring the building's facade to its original look and condition, and involves a complete reconstruction of the building's frontage. 
 2. Lucky - A new restaurant by Tucker Johnson and J.P Powell opening at 18 Kirk Avenue will feature gourment "comfort food" in a dive-bar type atmosphere. This project will be Roanoke's first "gastropub", a concept cultivated in the neighborhoods of London, New York, and San Francisco. Chef Jeff Farmer (formerly of Bizou in Charlottesville) will have full creative license over the kitchen and will be cooking up variations on southern cuisine with an emphasis on the freshest local ingredients available. For instance, oysters harvested from the Rappahanock Oyster Company will be shipped overnight to the restaurant and will be served at the planned raw bar. Other cool features include a vintage juke-box and a dining bar perfect for patrons of the Kirk Avenue music hall just next door. This place is sure to rock the socks off of Roanokers looking for an out-of-the-ordinary dining experience while staying true to their southern roots. 

3. A massive $20 million renovation of the Center in the Square building is in the final stages of planning and should begin construction soon, barring any last-minute financing issues. The project will update the buildings capabilities to better support the Virginia Science Museum, Mill Mountain Theater, and Planetarium, and will feature a green roof with renewable energy technology. The new facility should bring more tourists and other visitors to the already budding downtown arts scene and bolster the local shopping and restaurant customer base. The project is being tackled by Thor Construction and should be open within a year of the start of construction.
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4. City tax dollars are being put to work in the market building for a complete renovation of the early 20th century structure that houses various local eateries and merchants. The building is the virtual "food court" of downtown Roanoke and a popular destination for downtown workers at lunchtime. The $6.3 million makeover of the building should increase patronage and extend its useful life for years to come.
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5. A new restaurant/hotel concept called the Rowland is under construction literally next door to the beautiful new Taubman Museum of Art on the corner of Market Street and Salem Avenue. The project is being kept relatively secrete by the developers but it is known that it will include a 25-room boutique hotel on the upper floors with possible restaurant space on the first floor. The owners of Metro restaurant are helping back the project, which should make for a successful business if their past projects are any indication. 

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