Major development proposed for Southeast Roanoke

‘Riverdale’ is said to have the potential to change the character of the Star City, create thousands of jobs

ROANOKE, Va. – A new project that will turn the former American Viscose plant in Southeast Roanoke into a major development was announced during the Tuesday night City Council meeting.

The development has the potential to create thousands of jobs and change the character of the Star City.

City Council heard about the plan for the first time publically during the meeting. They approved a motion to take the initial steps required to keep the plan moving forward.

The new development, called “Riverdale,” will transform the American Viscose property off of 9th Street, while maintaining some of its industrial heritage features, officials said.

The property will gradually be transformed into industrial spaces, residences, commercial spaces, artist studios, maker spaces, and manufacturing areas, according to city officials.

Riverdale Southeast Impact Project (Credit: City of Roanoke) (WSLS)

We’re told that the project will also be fully integrated into adjacent natural and recreation areas, like the Greenway, Roanoke River, and Mill Mountain.

City Manager Bob Cowell outlined the plan to City Council on Tuesday night, saying that the project could lead to the creation of nearly 2,000 jobs, as well as have a significant economic impact on the area.

It could have around $300 million in economic impact – and that’s just concerning the first phase of development, according to the economic study by Chmura Economics, which you can read in full below.

The project will be headed by well-known developer Ed Walker who will also oversee its progress.

“It’s important not to think of this as a standard redevelopment project in many ways Ed will be functioning as a master developer here. Some of these areas he will develop himself, in many instances he’s going to have to bring in other partners in order to take on something of the scale in this magnitude,” Cowell said.

Now that the city council has recommended the project, it will go to the Economic Development Authority to be voted upon on Wednesday.


About the Authors

Alli Graham came aboard the digital team as an evening digital content producer in June 2022.

Connor Dietrich joined the 10 News team in June 2022. Originally from Castle Rock, Colorado, he's ready to step away from the Rockies and step into the Blue Ridge scenery.

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