Officials unveil early features of Route 419 plan

Local News

Officials unveiled early features of redevelopment plans for the Route 419 corridor in Roanoke County at a public meeting Wednesday night. 

The county wrapped up its design workshop for the Route 419 Town Center Planning Study on Wednesday. The goal of the project is to revitalize the 419 corridor near the Tanglewood Mall and help bring new businesses and neighbors to the area.

People working on plans to revitalize Roanoke County’s Route 419 corridor have started to develop a framework for what the area could look like as it transforms over a 20-year period.

“I would like to see Roanoke going forward,” said Angelika Kayte, the owner of Alive & Well, a massage therapy business on nearby Brambleton Avenue. “Tanglewood is 43 years old. And it’s just time for a new look.”

Kayte said she would like to see more businesses coming to the area, and officials working on the plan said many agree.

“It was really focused on shopping and retail,” said Steve Kearney, a project manager and urban planner for Stantec’s Urban Places Group, which was brought on by the county to help develop the 419 plan.

Through research and community input, his firm has learned the retail market in the area is strong and underserved, he said. His group has found there is demand for businesses like Whole Foods and The Cheesecake Factory, as well as locally-owned businesses, he added. 

“It was retail that was locally-owned,” Kearney said of the ideas collected from the public. “It was smaller shops, more boutique shops, and it was very much the type of retail that goes into these first-floor buildings.”

An important part of the plan is having the area become more walkable and making it easier for those with disabilities to get around, Kearney said. The way to do that, he explained, is to create a town center model for the neighborhood.

Kearney’s firm is looking at adding hundreds of housing units to the area, mainly in the form of mixed-use housing. That means apartments on top of retail space or mixed with office space, he said. 

“From our market research, we know that 1,200 units of housing within this location, buildings with first-floor uses such as restaurants, coffee shops, etc. is likely,” Kearney said. 

As for the Tanglewood Mall. part of the mall could be transformed, possibly relocating the movie theater and replacing the current retail space between anchor stores with a more modern setup, members of Kearney’s firm explained during the meeting. 

“We will work to figure out how to make these projects real and workable,” Kearney said. 

“I’d like to see new businesses coming in and the space utilized optimally,” Kayte said. 

There will be more community meetings in the coming weeks, Kearney said. Officials plan to present a draft of the 419 plan by the end of February and make additional changes to it in the spring, he added.

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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