Developers work to meet apartment building boom created from high demand

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ROANOKE (WSLS10)  - Just this year, about 70 apartment units were built in the Star City. Local developers and city leaders told us apartment growth is thriving. We took an inside look at some of the new properties that will be ready for lease this fall.

Right now, there are seven different complexes going up in the heart of downtown Roanoke. City leaders said most rental properties sit close to 100-percent occupancy. As a result, developers are building.

"I don't think anybody can sit there and tell you they know exactly where all these people are coming from," commented developer John Garland. "Carilion has certainly been a big part of it."

With downtown being the hub of activity, city leaders mentioned it's drawing millennials and young professionals in.

"I live right across the train tracks," said 28-year-old Wells Selbe, who lives downtown. "I like being able to walk right across and come downtown, grab some food, walk to work and just enjoy the night life."

Like many downtown projects, Garland is retro-fitting an older building. He's fixing up the former Blue Ridge Buick along Campbell Avenue in the West End of the city.

"That's one of the beauties of these older buildings; they usually have a lot of window area," said Garland.

Garland told us the building will house 22-one-bedroom lofts and offer character -- like exposed brick and wood rafters -- space that he expects will lease quickly.

Right now, Downtown Roanoke incorporated told us there are 1,269 residential units; about 70 were built in the last year. More and more new apartments are expanding the downtown footprint.

Other rentals like the South 16 sister apartment, which will sit right next to Carillon, are being built from the ground up.

"Well we're 98-percent full and when it's full you better get moving on the next one," said South 16 Project Manager Aaron Ewert.

Construction on both apartments is expected to finish this fall.