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An option for the Roanoke Market Building vendors emerges

The doors will slam shut to the public on September 6 but not for “Fall Cleaning.” It’s the last day to get your Burger in the Square, New York Sub or a greeting from Zorba’s Adel Eltawansy.

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According to Rob Ledger, director of economic development for Roanoke City contractors will start renovating September 13. By Mid-May 2011 the old and/or new tenants can start their build-out for either an eatery or retail space in the renovated building.

There will be less parking with the sidewalk expansion on Market and Wall streets – only parallel parking will remain on one side.

When the current tenants move out they may be gone for good. There seems to be no incentive coming from council, city administration or the Market Foundation to entice them to return.

To the rescue or at least an option - John Garland President of Spectrum Design plans renovation of 16 West Church Avenue next door to Heironimus and baring the name Downtown Sports Club. It’s only current tenant is a chiropractor who will stay in the renovated building.

According to Garland and Chris Venable Spectrum senior associate the ground floor vendor stalls can be ready for tenants when the doors close on the Market building. They can transition directly to “16 West” in September.

The once S & W Cafeteria location has some essential elements for eateries claimed Venable.

“We are still exploring ideas … you tell us what you need,” said Garland to the Market vendors.

BB&T will finance the $2 million renovation. After completion they expect to get Historic Tax credits, Enterprise Zone credits and façade grants to offset the cost.

In addition they are also luring a grocery store and pharmacy to the first floor. The still flexible design will have twelve stalls - six 12 by 20 feet with hood ventilation depending on the use. Other stalls are unique in size and shape.

The yet to be revealed fitness center for the second floor is an 80 percent certainty according to Venable. The third floor will include six apartments of about 800 square feet renting for about $850 a month.

The hope is to get a mix of eateries and retail. Ledger called it “a different model” compared to the Market building. Limited parking would primarily attract those who either work or live and work downtown.

Darrell Morris of Poe and Cronk Real Estate Group will handle leasing. Garland said that Spectrum would handle day to day management, needs and complaints.

Venable said that rent would be less or competitive to what the city currently charges the Market building tenants. They would prefer 5-year leases but could work with any tenant wanting to return to the renovated Market building.

Garland explained that to draw customers it would take more than one Market tenant to relocate. It’s now up to the vendors to express their interest and needs.

Michael Jirousek owner of Tokyo Express was concerned about parking for takeout orders. Louis Wilson co-owner of Burger in the Square with his wife Anita Wilson said by phone he would talk to Garland further. The Wilson's have already opened a second Burger in the Square at Cave Spring Corners in Roanoke County.

Fly through the Market Building by CLICKING HERE.

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