Longtime Roanoke businessman to create 70 downtown apartments in former newspaper press building

The project is slated to welcome tenants by 2024

ROANOKE, Va. – Big city living is coming to downtown Roanoke, according to the developer of a major apartment project.

Macado’s restaurant chain owner Richard Macher plans to create 60-70 apartments in the former Roanoke Times press building.

“I love downtown Roanoke and I love the city,” said Macher.

Downtown Roanoke is special to the restaurateur who opened his first business in the district in 1978. There are now nearly two dozen locations in Virginia and North Carolina.

The building at the corner of 2nd Street and Salem Avenue is 50% glass-faced, Macher says, and the plan is to add even more windows to give the units an “airy, open” feeling.

“It can’t just be a place to live. I want to create this vibey, interesting place to live. I want to bring the five districts together – the Gainesboro district, the area toward the breweries, and the old downtown,” said Macher.

While Macher did not reveal the planned purchase price of the building, he did share it will cost nearly a million dollars and at least four to six months to get the massive German-made press out of the way before renovations can begin.

The Press Building is the working name for the apartment building.

It will stand five stories tall with studio, one, two and three-bedroom units. An atrium will expose all five floors from the ground level.

Perhaps Macher’s most excited about the rooftop pool and lounge area.

“You’re basically going to get this big city, vibey type of living here,” said Macher.

Macher believes apartments are the way to go but he is open to ideas and says he has gotten plenty of them.

“I’ve had people talk about putting a skydiving simulator in here. I’ve had people talking about making the express a rock climbing wall. I’ve had some affordable grocery,” explained Macher.

Macher hopes to ink the final deal in a few weeks with renovations beginning almost immediately. You can likely sign your lease there in the year 2024.

“We are excited and I think it’s going to really create a great, great situation for downtown Roanoke and the city,” said Macher.

About the Author

McKinley Strother joined the WSLS 10 News team in June 2020. He anchors 10 News at 6 and 11 on Saturdays and Sundays and you'll also catch him reporting during the week.