Midtown: What’s changed since Fall 2018?

What’s changed? Main St. Building

Main St. Building

Due to changing situations with the businesses involved, the Midtown plan now proposes two primary mixed-use office buildings along Main Street. The team originally combined two buildings into one for a large prospective tenant who needed the space to be ready by Jan. 1, 2020. When it became clear this fall that the rezoning and construction plan approvals would not be done in time to meet that deadline, that tenant chose to build elsewhere. If a large tenant were to need a larger building, the two parcels could be combined.


What’s changed? Eheart St. Buildings

Eheart St. Buildings

When the Midtown plan was first submitted, we held a parcel as an option for a new library along Eheart St., as the Montgomery County was discussing the possibility of new library in Blacksburg. The Midtown plan now provides space for two multi-use buildings that can include civic, office, and commercial uses. The two parcels could be combined for one larger building if needed. Because the building is more likely not going to be a library, the traffic implications are reduced.


Midtown will only add a couple of seconds to each intersection.

Traffic Expectations

Traffic expectations have been reduced, with smaller office space and the removal of the library option. Expected trips per day from Midtown have been reduced by 1,600, which significantly reduces traffic impact. Based on updated numbers, the no-build traffic option has increased. 


What’s changed? Hotel footprint

Hotel footprint

Midtown has a hotel interested in building on a parcel along Eheart. The footprint for the hotel has been expanded due to the type of suites that will be offered. The number of hotel rooms has not changed. 


What’s changed? Downtown commercial space

Increased Downtown Commercial Space

With the larger hotel footprint, the downtown commercial space increased. In order to keep the districts from overlapping in the community, the east arm of a U-shaped complex across from the public safety complex was incorporated into the DC district instead of the PRD designation. The planned residential parcels have decreased from 11.89 acres to 10.54.


What’s changed? Alley

Alley

The alley behind Clay Court may be wider than initially proposed. The layout of the alley is subject to change until the police station and garage designs are finalized. These garage and police station designs will be under the control of the Town of Blacksburg, not Midtown.


Blacksburg is used to substantial conformance. Why does Midtown mention general conformance?

Substantial conformance spells out precisely what the development is committed to, such as setbacks, maximum building heights, street and pathway widths. General conformance provides guiding principles related to look and feel, but gives developers the ability to react to what users and the market needs. If we must come back for every little change, we will lose users. Over time, complex, mixed use community with stringent substantial conformance requirements becomes empty. Midtown is seeking zoning that recognizes flexibility to user needs and market influences.

An example of general conformance is the design of the plaza on the corner of Main and Eheart. I’ve seen images showing brick and concrete. I’ve seen different variations of fountains and furniture and landscaping? Substantial conformance will require Blacksburg to develop one vision exactly. General conformance means there will be hardscape, landscaping, furniture and a water feature. It is up to the town planners to determine what generally conforms to the vision presented and approved.


How much can the town trust the pictures in the rezoning proposal?

Our Pattern Book has been mistakenly called a marketing document. Communities all over the country are using pattern books for their rezoning for mixed use developments. Our pattern book was developed by Communita, our community design partner with many multi-use infill projects in its portfolio. The pattern book is proffered for general conformance so that Midtown development project and design standards will be guided and controlled by the descriptions and images in the book. In addition, Midtown has proffered many specific elements such as setbacks, materials, street widths and streetscapes. The images are not marketing, but planning tools. Images in pattern books are used by planning departments across the country to determine whether buildings and developments conform.