Evans Spring development could bring $2.9B economic impact, consultants say

ROANOKE. Va. – The consulting firm hired by the City of Roanoke to examine the task of updating the plan for the Evans Spring development project has to balance neighborhood concerns with the needs of the city.

Evans Spring is one of the largest remaining vacant and usable areas of land in all of Roanoke. The land sits along the southern side of I-581, across the highway from Valley View Mall, bordered to the south by the Melrose-Rugby and Fairland neighborhoods in northwest Roanoke.

Consultants for the city spent recent months exploring the potential for private developers to do something with Evans Spring. They recently proposed the latest concept plan to the city council.

President and Principal Bill Mechnick with the Charlottesville-based planning firm, LPDA, wants to please all the stakeholders as much as possible.

“We’re doing everything we can here both for the private development community, and the neighborhood and the city to create something that generates revenue,” Mechnick.

The plan calls for 300 single-family-owned housing units, 350 multifamily rental units, and up to 570,000 square feet of commercial space.

The 20-year total economic impact of this plan altogether could be $2.9 billion.

“Without partnerships with the local development community, potential funders, grant funders for various programs, and without the city’s participation, it’d be hard to make this plan work,” Mechnick said. “On both sides, the private development community and the city needs to come to the table and negotiate partnerships in various aspects.”

A benefit of the partnerships is cost sharing. One area it could be used would be to extend southward the four-lane interchange of I-581 and Valley View Boulevard across the waters of Lick Run to the development. It would cost an estimated $55 million today.

“Potentially we could get a different configuration through that was only two or three lanes. A narrower bridge would reduce the cost,” Mechnick said. “I think our engineers estimated $45 million. Either way, it’s a lot of millions.”

The next steps for Roanoke City Council include receiving a draft report and final recommendations from the consultants.

You can see the full presentation as seen here below.

About the Author

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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