Monday, April 20, 2009

Fly Through The “Hybrid” Market Building – Video w/Audio – Slideshow Presentation Now Available!

Lee Quill confers with colleagues during presentation.

Lee Quill confers with colleagues during presentation.

There was no dispute from Council members or negative reaction from the vendors after Lee Quill of Cunningham Quill Architects  completed his presentation Monday. The key word was “hybrid.” A hybrid of current vendors with a mix of farm produce, flowers, and retail. Anita and Louis Wilson owners of Burger in the Square called it sensible. Lee Quill painfully revealed that the building would have to be vacated for at least 9 months during the renovation. The plumbing dated back to the 1930s. It had not been part of the 1980’s renovation or at least not in entirety.  According to Wilson chances were it would fail if nothing is done. Anita and Louis Wilson have not been idly waiting for a Council decision – “we saw the writing on the wall,” said Wilson. They are in the process of securing a lease on another restaurant in Southwest County. They plan to keep both locations until … well until the Market closes for renovation which at best would begin in a year.

Vice-Mayor Sherman Lea overhearing Wilson’s plans asked if she would come back to the Market after renovation was completed. Wilson replied, “that depends on the rent.” According to Quill the construction drawings would take 6 to 9 months. Then bidding the project would take another three months. The cost of the total project which Quill recommends is $6.7 million. If the assembly area (third floor) was held for later renovation it would cost just short of $5 million. There would be opportunity for historic tax credits applicable only to the interior of the building. The Director of Finance when asked – what was left of the amphitheatre funds replied that the amount had dwindled to $2.8 million. The cash was in the Parks and Recreation Master Fund as best as Ann Shawver could recall. Answering my question again she said that Council could allocate the $2.8 million as they saw fit. Though this is not near enough for the Market Building it is CASH waiting for some use.

The existing 13 stalls with dimensions of 12  by 17.5 feet would turn into 8 stalls with dimensions of 16 by 20 feet allowing for storage and bigger kitchen areas. Each stall would provide outdoor dining opportunity. There would be an open bright central space that would sell flowers and colorful eye-catching vegetables. Councilman Dave Trinkle had to give up on his mezzanine seating as that would require columns that Quill did not recommend. Quill did advocate for “parallel parking” allowing for an extra 6 feet of total outdoor eating area. Quill did not advocate for closing the streets. The eating area would be bricked or stamped to make it attractive. Quill stressed the great opportunities that the “assembly floor” holds. It would include a kitchen and could be used for weddings and any variety of events. There was a detail discussion on “grease.” Suffice it to say it will not accumulate in the vents but be gathered in a central interceptor by way of a piping system. The following is courtesy of Cunningham Quill:


• Reposition City Market as Historic Cultural Resource

• Complete primary plumbing infrastructure upgrades

• Rebrand Market identity from Dated International Food Court to Vibrant, Mixed-use Food and Retail Historic Cultural Resource

• Reconfigure interior vendor “module” to match existing structural grid and spacing of perimeter vendor stalls to provide more space, greater efficiency and potential tenant configuration flexibility.

• Open up interior to restore sense of original space and volume.

• Improve quality of light in market interior.

• Improve visual connection from street to market interior.

• Create central focus that draws patrons into market interior.

• Add new toilet rooms on ground and Assembly Hall levels.

• Renovate Assembly Hall and catering kitchen for public / private events and potential rental income



Early History

• City Market & Assembly Hall Building designed in 1921 by E.G. Frye Building not constructed until 1935.

• Market served primarily meat (interior) and farm (perimeter) vendors until decline in 1960’s and 1970’s.

• Assembly Hall provided space for boxing matches, public meetings, and other public events.

Design ’79

• Charles Moore led design effort to transform downtown Roanoke and the City Market Building in 1979.

• Market Building listed as contributing structure to Downtown City Market Historic District created in 1981.

• Historic District Listed on Virginia Register 1982 and National Register of Historic Places in 1983.

• Adaptively renovated to food court and retail mixed use building in 1985.

• Assembly Hall used as concert venue, holiday shows, and other public events.


• Building suffers from deferred maintenance during 3 party management that ended in 2005.

• Under City management, new upper roof, toilet room remodeling and major HVAC and Electrical upgrades are completed during 2005-2008.

• Plumbing infrastructure has not been updated since building was constructed in 1930’s

• Building has many vacancies, high tenant turn-over…..”looks tired”

• Due to lack of adequate toilet facilities, Assembly Hall is closed to general public use.

• On-going maintenance issues due to poor trash, grease collection, and poorly maintained kitchen exhaust equipment.

• Health Department closes building for 2 weeks in September, 2008, for rodent infestation + other issues.

• As concluded during previous Design Charrettes and Studies , the City Market Building is Prime

• Candidate for Adaptive Re-use and Historic Preservation, repositioning the building to contribute to the renaissance of a vibrant Downtown Historic District.

Posted By Valerie Garner

Categories: Politics, Roanoke City Politics



No Comments

Comments are not moderated. Notify any abuse at put ABUSE in the subject and the offensive post.

Leave a Reply