Former Blacksburg Middle School project hits another roadblock

Midtown developers calling on town to make a decision

By Rachel Lucas - Weekend Anchor / Reporter

BLACKSBURG - Developers of the old Blacksburg Middle School project have hit another roadblock with the long-awaited project that could bring new amenities to downtown.

The 20-acre former Blacksburg Middle School site has been vacant since 2002.

Developers have long planned to turn the site into mixed use space that would include a shopping plaza, park space and additional parking for downtown. The planning commission recommended approving Midtown's request for zoning. But, after nearly six months, Blacksburg Town Council has yet to approve the project.

If an agreement isn't met by March, the process will go back to the planning commission, essentially starting over.

“Despite diligent efforts we are very disappointed that action by Town Council was not possible within the Town’s designated 6-month period,” said The Midtown Partners Jim Cowan and Jeanne Stosser in a statement to 10 News. ”The same vision and plan the Planning Commission approved on September 4 is embodied in the package they are being asked to review again.”

Despite the setback, Midtown said they are still pushing for the project.
“We hope the Planning Commission will approve this quickly and send back to Town Council for speedy resolution. Midtown as envisioned would be an asset to Blacksburg and it’s time to make that happen. Midtown Partners have engaged in 18 months of discussions with the town on this latest proposal and have offered numerous concessions to meet the Town requirements, wants, wishes, and demands.

The lengthy time it’s taken for the town to give a go-ahead on the project could have a negative impact on the viability of the project in the future. Midtown said in a statement potential tenants could be lost due to the slow decision.

 “As time passes, market conditions change, prospective tenants and users move on and costs rise—our ability to offer more has been eliminated.”

Midtown is now calling on the Planning Commission and the Town Council for a decision.

“If this happens, Midtown Partners is in a position to start construction on the project this year. Without rezoning, development by right will be the only option.”

Midtown said citizens can get involved by voicing their support for the project to the Planning Commission and Town Council.

Register on its website:
www.MidtownBlacksburg.com. 

“Come to the hearings. Tell the town it’s time to move.”
 

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