Blacksburg housing concerns continue

The newest development project, Midtown, will be in the heart of downtown Blacksburg

New development projects in Blacksburg have led to concerns over student housing.

BLACKSBURG, Va. – “Anyone who says we don’t need more housing in this town has not tried to buy a house in this town in the last ten years,” Blacksburg business owner Jessica Jones said.

Jones owns New River Art and Fiber in Downtown Blacksburg and said she has seen the town glow significantly over the years.

“They don’t just say ‘hey let’s put a big building here,’” Jones said. “There’s a lot of research and a lot of data that has fed into those decisions.”

Deputy town manager Chris Lawrence said the growth is because of Virginia Tech.

“Town council approved about four years ago several, about 5,000 more student housing beds, so there certainly has been a large student housing focused growth,” Lawrence said.

But with more student housing comes the concern for non-student housing.

Leaders said they are working to keep student housing in a focused location.

“It keeps students and that intensity of development focused where there are transit routes, where there are bike lanes and transportation, where existing infrastructure exists,” Lawrence said.

One of the newest development projects, Midtown, will be front and center of Downtown Blacksburg, and construction on the community is underway.

Midtown will be located right along Main Street beside the new Blacksburg Police Department. It is proposed to have both residential townhomes and commercial business properties.

Midtown does have more residential use than originally planned, which has raised concerns for residents.

“It’s not necessarily what was envisioned but it’s also not allowed. It is permitted use,” Lawrence said.

Jones thinks that the Midtown development will be a good thing overall for the town and her business.

“When you’re dealing with development and an increase in infrastructure it is sort of an ‘if you build it they will come situation,” she said.


About the Author:

Abbie Coleman officially joined the WSLS 10 News team in January 2023.