Midtown developers change Main Street plan

Midtown developers change Main Street plan

An image showing what building will be divided in two

Blacksburg, Va. ­– When the Blacksburg Town Council deliberates on rezoning the old Blacksburg Middle School site, the proposed mixed-use construction along Main Street will be slightly different from the plan approved by the Blacksburg Planning Commission in September. Instead of a single, large office and restaurant building, the Midtown Redevelopment Partners is now proposing two primary mixed-use office buildings in that location.  

The new building configuration was prompted by changing situations with the businesses involved, according to the Midtown team.

When the current proposal was originally submitted to the Town of Blacksburg for rezoning in November 2017, it called for having a large office complex facing Main Street. Earlier plans for two buildings had been combined when a prospective tenant sought a larger footprint of office space ready for use by Jan. 1, 2020.

At the same time that it became clear rezoning and construction plan approvals would not be done in time to meet that deadline, the Midtown team learned that the prospective tenant did not plan to participate and would build elsewhere.

The Midtown team remains optimistic about the project, as do a number of remaining smaller prospective office tenants, according to Jim Cowan, with Midtown Redevelopment Partners. Reconfiguring the office parcel into two smaller office buildings could make the commercial development more manageable in terms of tenant mix and financing, he said.

“We must provide viable options for potential business tenants,” he added.

Having two buildings instead of one opens the possibility of incorporating a sightline from Main Street to the planned community gathering space, he acknowledged. “In the end, this might be more advantageous to the town,” he said. “Being able to see community events from Main Street will probably encourage greater participation.” 

Building these two smaller buildings might also alleviate some concerns by citizens about the scale of the larger office building by breaking up the massing into a scale more in line with the current downtown, he noted.  

The two primary buildings on Main Street would each be three stories with restaurant/commercial space on the first floor facing Main Street, and office space on the second and third floors. There is the possibility of a fourth floor with residences.

The updated plans also allow for the possibility of a small transitional building between the larger buildings and Clay Court, and two future mixed-use buildings on Eheart Street. 

In other parcels in the proposed community, plans for a select-service 90-room hotel are also moving forward, along with a mixed-use residential building; all surrounding a community green that serves as an event space. 

“We remain committed to building a thriving, walkable community in downtown Blacksburg where people can live, work and gather,” Cowan said.

In addition to commercial space, Midtown’s residential district will include a variety of high-quality housing options from two-car garage townhomes to apartments, condominiums, and flats. The approximately 300 residential units are designed to attract and encourage long-term residents.

So far, more than 65 households have indicated interest in living in the new community, showing that Midtown would be an asset to Blacksburg and meet a key housing need.

“We recognize the pivotal opportunity before us to transform this property into a vibrant living-working community at the southern gateway to Blacksburg’s downtown,” Cowan said. “We have invested considerable resources and several years to develop the right concept.  By continuing to respond to the market and to input from the Town and other stakeholders, we now see the opportunity to realize our shared vision for this important site.” 

“We believe Midtown is the right plan for this space, that now is the right time to move forward, and we look forward to continuing to work with the Town of Blacksburg to make it a reality with a groundbreaking this coming spring.” 

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.