ROANOKE, Va. – The Lee Theatre Lofts on Williamson Road have opened for business, bringing life back into a building that’s been vacant for years.
“The history of that building is, it goes back to the 1940′s, it was the beautiful Lee Theatre. It was a beautiful part of town, it was a success for a while and then Williamson Road took a dive down,” said Husain Alam, the owner, president and architect of Alam Design Group.
Now, the complex boasts 35 single-bedroom spaces, with rent ranging from around $800 to $850.
“The cost is very competitive when you consider that all the utilities are included. That seems to get people’s attention, said Jason Craft, the property manager.
After receiving more than 700 applications, the lofts are fully rented, with a good mix of young professionals and people who are retired.
“Roanoke has a growing youth population, young professionals, and close to retirees and they want affordable housing,” Alam added.
“The price is right in my range, I’m on retirement. I’m paying $800 a month and it’s perfect,” said Paula Murray who lives at the Lee Theatre Lofts.
Transforming former traditional commercial spaces into housing is something that Alam Design Group thinks will help the housing crisis in the Star City.
“I think people underestimate the passion that the marketplace has for good buildings, good architecture, historic buildings, repurposing,” Alan explained.
The hope is that Roanoke, like the Lee Theatre Lofts, will serve its audience in affordability.