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Planning commission approves micro-apartments in old Lee Theatre on Williamson Road

ROANOKE, Va.- – The old Lee Theatre in northwest Roanoke has sat empty for years, but that could all soon change. 

A design group is one step away from revitalizing the former site. But people won't go there to see a movie. 
During a planning commission public hearing, Alam Design Group said it's looking to renovate the space into small efficiency apartments. 

"Nice upscale but cost-effective housing in the community. We think this will be a really good fit for the city of Roanoke and especially the corridor with the 10th Sreet connection and Williamson Road," said Husain Alam, of Alam Design Group. 

Nina Heldt lives nearby the vacant building on Williamson Road. Her backyard backs up to the property. Separated by only a chain-link fence. She's in support of the project and bringing more affordable housing to the area. But there are some concerns about the construction process.

"Obviously, they're going to use the parking lot. There will be big lights. We don't want any more lights shining in our parking lot. We have a parking lot close to the right side of my backyard already," said Heldt. 

The planning commission is in favor of the project. The next step is for the idea to go before the City Council. The plan is to create a mixED-use space for apartments and a public laundromat. Heldt also told the board members her other concerns include the extra noise and trash from people living in the building. 

The next step is for City Council to vote on the project.