Midtown Redevelopment Team sends letter to supporters

Dear Midtown supporter: 

You may have seen news reports that the Midtown project has gone back to zero. 

We’d like to share our perspective on why the Town of Blacksburg plans to send the Midtown project back to the rezoning commission. 

Last September, after many hearings, work sessions and public input, the Planning Commission recommended approving Midtown’s rezoning request to establish a vision and plan for the redevelopment of the Old Blacksburg Middle School property. The rezoning request was then forwarded to the Town Council for approval. 

The same vision and plan embodied in that rezoning request remains in place today for the Town Council’s consideration.   

Six months have gone by with frequent communication between Midtown Redevelopment Partners, the Town Council and their attorneys, and Midtown’s attorney. Before that, Midtown spent more than a year holding meetings and made multiple changes to the project plan in an effort to satisfy the Town’s requirements, wants, wishes, and demands. A year and a half later, Midtown Redevelopment Partners would like to say we are close to reaching an agreement with the Town, but who knows.

The Town of Blacksburg has a 6-month limitation on a Planning Commission recommendation. If Town Council does not act within that time period, a request must be remanded back to the Planning Commission. 

For Midtown, that 6-month window is up in March, so the Town Council will send the request back to the Planning Commission. We hope the Planning Commission will again recommend approval to satisfy this Town-specific procedural requirement so we can complete the work that has transpired in the past six months.

Midtown and the Town of Blacksburg must work jointly to realize the highest and best use for this property. 

The downtown experience and density sought by the Town requires a parking structure to provide the parking spaces necessary for a successful urban mixed-use project. Market demand and prior concessions made by Midtown eliminate our ability to provide this parking structure.  

Finding a solution to provide this parking structure will allow Blacksburg and Montgomery County to expand their future tax base and realize the expansion of Downtown. If a solution cannot be found, then the Town’s desired density and parking structure design must be reduced to facilitate a successful redevelopment of this property, albeit at a smaller scale.   

This is where we are. We have reached a go, no go situation. If no go, then development by right will be the only option.

Thank you for your continued support. 

Midtown Redevelopment Partners

Jim Cowan and Jeanne Stosser

Press Release

Midtown to sponsor downtown scavenger hunt during Summer Solstice Festival

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BLACKSBURG, VA – Midtown—the proposed new community for the site of the old Blacksburg Middle School—is hosting a free interactive scavenger hunt from 1:30-5:00 p.m. this Saturday, June 16, as part of the Summer Solstice Festival. The game is designed to familiarize participants with downtown sights and businesses, and provide a fun challenge for all.

“We’re looking forward to being a part of this event, especially as a future downtown community,” said Jim Cowan, a partner with the Midtown Redevelopment Partners LLC. “The scavenger hunt is a great way for us to support the downtown businesses, that have been overwhelmingly enthusiastic about our plan, and to tell people more about Midtown.”

The game comprises various missions throughout downtown, including GPS check-ins, photos, and questions. It is open to all ages and will start at Midtown, located at 501 South Main St., Blacksburg, VA 24060.

Interested players should download the free GooseChase app for iOS and Android and search for Solstice Hunt. Prizes will be given to the top three teams.

In addition to the scavenger hunt, Midtown is offering free festival parking, restroom facilities, and a ready station with water, sunscreen, and more. The 20-acre property’s proximity to downtown makes it the perfect origin for a fun-filled day, Cowan said.

About Midtown

Midtown is a vibrant community coming soon to Blacksburg just south of downtown. Located at the site of the old Blacksburg Middle School, Midtown will offer civic, commercial, and residential mixed-use public space for all to enjoy. Learn more about Midtown by visiting midtownblacksburg.com or following us on Facebook (Midtown – Blacksburg) and Twitter (@midtownbburg), #MeetMidtown.

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Press Release

Ahead of first public meeting, 
developers introduce Midtown

BLACKSBURG, VA – Ahead of the first public neighborhood meeting, developers Jim Cowan and Jeanne Stosser introduce Midtown as the proposed new community for the old Blacksburg Middle School site. They describe the property as critical to helping define Blacksburg’s future, and encourage supporters to attend the meeting on Wednesday, May 23 at 7 p.m.

Cowan and Stosser: Meet Midtown
By Jim Cowan and Jeanne Stosser
Roanoke Times
May 22, 2018

http://www.roanoke.com/opinion/commentary/cowan-and-strosser-meet-midtown/article_eb0f0d23-71fb-53ad-b0cb-6aa812bff99a.html

Over the past several years, passionate people from Main Street business owners and engaged local citizens to Town Council members and our stakeholders have worked to design a thoughtful and feasible plan for the Old Blacksburg Middle School property.

This piece of property is sacred to many as the place their family went to school, gathered for Friday night football, or enjoyed the lawn at Main Street and Eheart.

Navigating multiple competing interests and the realities of the marketplace has not been easy. The process has been complex, but it has produced a detailed vision and a plan we can all take great pride in.

With considerable help and investment, we now have an exciting plan to be considered by Town Council over the summer.

Meet Midtown — a planned community in the heart of Blacksburg — where friends will gather for an outdoor concert, families will dine out, professionals will go to work, and, perhaps, children (both young and old) will go ice-skating in the winter.

Midtown will be a central community where Blacksburg lives and works, bridging the old school memories with new community moments.

Read the entire op-ed here.