Growth around former Ukrop's offers glimpse of possible impact of new Carilion facility

Carilion to build children's center in Tanglewood Mall

ROANOKE, Va. – First Watch restaurant on Franklin Road, next to the old Ukrop's grocery store, has no trouble staying busy.

"We definitely draw in a particular crowd, mainly the elderly, who come in here after some appointment that they've had," assistant manager Dylan McAllister said.

McAllister said being from the area, he's glad to see Carilion's investment in Tanglewood Mall.

"I'm hoping that it does generate a lot more business over there and the same thing that happened here can transfer over to that location also," said McAllister.

Carilion announced Thursday plans to spend $30 million to turn the former J.C. Penney in Tanglewood Mall into a children's pediatrics center.

Redeveloping the mall is a major part of Roanoke County's vision for redeveloping the surrounding area.

An Earth Fare grocery store and the Mellow Mushroom restaurant have also opened up in the parking lot across from Carilion's outpatient facility in the former Ukrop's grocery store.

The growth doesn't stop there, though.

"This is really a vibrant community," said Bob Boothe, who is overseeing construction of the Core Life Eatery next to First Watch.

Core Life Eatery is the third restaurant to locate essentially right next door to the former Ukrop's.

Boothe's only been in town for a few days, but is already amazed by the growth taking place in the area and that the growth would interest him if he wanted to open a business.

"It's all about automobile traffic, foot traffic, I guess -- population density and people's habits of how they shop. This area certainly provides all of that," Boothe said.

With Carilion's new children's center in the mall, Roanoke County is hopeful that, in the near future, the 419 corridor will provide all of that, too.

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