New Williamson Road apartment complex set to bring designer features at affordable rents

Project is slated for intersection of Williamson and Hershberger Roads

ROANOKE, Va. – Roanoke's Williamson Road is set for new apartments that could help change the face of the corridor. Hershberger Meadows promises to bring designer features at affordable prices.

The project still needs zoning approval and is set to go in the interior of the block bound by Williamson and Hershberger roads. The developer will need to tear down a few homes for access into the interior space, but they're hoping to bring the walkable aspect of downtown Roanoke to the suburbs.

Roanoke is a hotbed of development right now and the latest project promises high-end appeal with one major difference. Husain Alam is one of the local developers for Hershberger Meadows. His company, Alam Designs, is also working on the Lee Theater project on Williamson Road and has completed a number of residential projects downtown.

"Our goal is to bring professionals, give them affordable housing where they can have more money in their pocket to do things they want to do," Alam said.

He's proposing about 200 apartments filled with designer touches. The units are designed at 1,000 square feet, feature two bedrooms, and are priced at about $750, which puts it on the lower end of the rental market in Roanoke.

"We do granite on all the countertops and custom cabinets and people like quality, and if you can get the quality for less cost, everybody wins," Alam said.

Alam said patio homes were the first idea for the space, but he wanted to bring a taste of downtown adjacent to a commercial area. A full-size pool, clubhouse and expansive lawns make it a livable, walkable space.

Valerie Brown is the executive director of the Williamson Road Area Business Association and likes what she sees. She said the project fits in with the direction she wants the corridor to move in.

"I think it's pretty exciting," Brown said. "I think it's a great invitation, a great vision to have and I think others will follow suit for sure."

Neighbors said they're concerned about the units not renting and the developer then converting them into Section 8 housing. Alam said that's not going to happen and that he wants it to be a community space. He said the price point is low as compared to others, but just because someone has the budget to pay for it doesn't mean they should have to.

The developers have already purchased the properties they need and a few of the homes will be demolished. He said immediate neighbors will be able to use the pool and other amenities for free.

"These are going to be new and amazing you know, and that's the concept, people like quality and quality brings good people together," Alam said.

The buildings are designed to look like row homes and not your typical apartments. The developer will also pay for any upgrades needed to Hershberger Road.

The planning commission is set to hear the zoning request on Monday. 

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