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