ROANOKE (WSLS)-- The City of Roanoke could see some big changes in the next few years as about a dozen properties and buildings throughout the area are now on the market.
It's been ten years since Roanoke Fire-EMS crews stopped working out of the Historic Fire Station in Downtown, and now we could see it put to a new use. It's a property that won't be available for much longer, as the deadline to submit a proposal is less than a week away-- Wednesday, February 1.
Built just over a century ago, the fire station served as one of the oldest fully-functioning firehouses in the state until crews stopped using it in 2007. Now, the two-story building in the heart of Roanoke's business district is up for lease. Roanoke City leaders are currently accepting proposals for a long-term business plan to take over the vacant building.
Director of Economic Development, Wayne Bowers, says so far only one proposal has been submitted. He says there have been several tours of the building over the past few weeks and more proposals are expected to come in before the deadline.
Across town, a 1.4-acre portion of Fishburn Park and an old caretaker's cottage on the property are currently for sale as well. Bowers says just like the fire station, this is a property that the city is no longer using-- and hopes can be put to good use.
"We look at the inventory of buildings and want to put them to productive use. This building has been abandoned for some time, we don't have any specific idea," he says. "But it's a building that needs some work. We've put it out there and hopefully, there will be some interest in it."
As of last check, there have been no proposals submitted for the property in Fishburn Park and there's also no deadline for proposals at this time.
In recent years, we've seen some big changes come out of city properties that have been sold off. One of the most recent updates is the old YMCA building downtown-- which sat vacant for years before it was sold and transformed into the Locker Room Lofts. Now, it's an apartment complex made up of 56 units with a basketball court, a pool, a track, and hallways decorated with lockers.
In 2014, the former home of the Virginia Museum of Transportation was sold off and reopened less than a year later as a restaurant along the Greenway, the Green Goat. That's the kind of success story that city leaders hope to see at Fishburn Park.
"It's more of putting a building that's not being used back to productive use," says Bowers. "Something that will benefit the neighborhood, compliment the park and see if there's any interest."
Meanwhile, the clock is ticking for the Historic Fire Station-- as all proposals are due by 2 p.m. on February 1.