Friday, November 13, 2009

Welcome mats out for Roanoke City market tenants – take the DRI Market survey

Lee Quill of Cunningham Quill Architects Market Building Rendering

Lee Quill of Cunningham Quill Architects Market Building Rendering

As Roanoke City’s economic development department offers no options or assistance to the Market building tenants when renovations begin in July of 2010 they are finding that they are wanted. At least three locales are luring them as the city “kicks them to the street.”

Mayor Bowers watches Market building presentation.

Mayor Bowers watches Market building presentation.

The citizens of Roanoke appreciate the tenants who for the past 25 years have made the downtown market building into a bustling eclectic food court. For all the verbose rhetoric of the Mayor and Council there is not one – not one shred of help any tenant can hold in their hand.

The vendors know their patrons by name – they are family. The only tenant that has made plans beyond the market building venue is Burger in the Square. Owners Louis and Anita Wilson have opened a thriving Cave Spring Corner location.

Anita Wilson in a phone call said she was not invited to a recent meeting with Market building tenants and an economic development representative. Wilson said all they wanted to know from the tenants was what they planned to do after July 2010 and would they return.

Costs to reestablish their business on top of expected high rent prohibit thoughts of returning to a renovated Market building.

“You don’t just move to another location and spend thousands of dollars to set up only to move back in two years,” said Wilson. Many vendors just won’t survive – gone and forgotten victims of downtown renewal. Wilson will address city council Monday at the 2:00 PM meeting.

Wilson has heard from businesses surrounding the expected downtown renovations which includes Center in the Square and they fear they will not weather the renovation storm. They are already feeling the effects of a slow economy.

CLICK HERE to take the Downtown Roanoke, Inc. survey – what do you want to see in the city market?

Tanglewood Mall courting the vendors

Wilson has heard from Keagy Village, Botetourt Commons Shopping Center and Tanglewood Mall owners headquartered in New Jersey. Tanglewood wants to reestablish a “French Quarter” with the market vendors. No name has been picked for it yet but my suggestion would be “Market Square.”

According to Wilson Tanglewood wants to establish a community atmosphere and move away from the “mall” concept. If the farmers were willing they would be welcome too. Preliminary discussions included the option of using Stein Mart’s former space on the first floor as well as the upstairs. Tanglewood wants them long term and indicated they would take care of all setup costs.

Whether this preliminary offer comes to fruition and the tenants take them up on the offer remains to be seen but they should all take solace in the fact that they are wanted. If I were a member of Downtown Roanoke Inc., the expected managers of the renovated Market building I would be courting and assisting the current tenants now. Entice them back and treat them with the respect they deserve after all these years.

Did I here there will be a third “Fork” coming to the renovated Market building? – Word is it will be a “Fork in the Back.”

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

Posted By Valerie Garner

Categories: Business, Community, Roanoke City Politics

Tags: ,

Comments (3)


November 13th, 2009 at 8:27 AM    

The vendors would be wise to check out Keagy Village. It’s a good location, beautiful set-up, and empty. Tanglewood is not a bad idea either as the mall needs “something” to stay alive. I think Keagy would be more successful for them especially if they could use the outdoor portion.


November 13th, 2009 at 4:14 PM    


Keagy even offered them free rent but it is so empty and no anchor store. I’m sure they will still keep it in mind as future plans mature.

[…] Realtors and malls are reaching out to the tenants – “they see the value … they just don’t want the food court they want the farmers as well,” said Wilson. […]

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