INGATE

From The Sip Trunking Experts

TMCNet:  Redevelopment ideas for old Blacksburg Middle School edge closer to reality

[November 14, 2012]

Redevelopment ideas for old Blacksburg Middle School edge closer to reality

BLACKSBURG, Nov 14, 2012 (The Roanoke Times - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) -- The long-debated redevelopment of the old Blacksburg Middle School site perhaps edged a bit closer to reality Tuesday as town officials said a plan to build offices, a hotel and apartments is moving in the right direction.


But officials said they want more changes before they take up rezoning requests needed for the project.

"I'm happier," Town Councilwoman Susan Anderson said, "but not yet happy." Tuesday's session was a joint meeting of Blacksburg's town council and its planning commission, giving both bodies the chance to comment on a new version of a development proposal that ran into criticism at its unveiling last month.

Developers are trying to soothe objections before formally filing rezoning requests in December.

The 20-acre downtown site is owned by Montgomery County and its zoning is controlled by the town council. Its future has sparked disagreement for a decade, with the county hoping for revenue from the sale of the property and an ongoing stream of taxes from its development, and the town more willing to wait until just the right project comes along.

At a Monday school board budget forum where speaker after speaker lamented school funding woes, Montgomery County Supervisor Chris Tuck called on residents to help persuade the town council to approve the sale of the old middle school site to aid the county's finances.

But town officials sounded in no mood to hurry Tuesday, with Councilman John Bush saying, "We need to be more patient. ... And if we need to have competing proposals for this site, we need to have that." Town officials said their hopes are described in a master plan for the site that the town and county developed last year. The plan terms the property "one of the most important redevelopment sites" in Blacksburg or the county and called for a mix of residential and commercial uses, echoing earlier town plans.

Fiddler's Green Partners of Blacksburg and Continental Real Estate Cos., a national development company, last month presented a proposal that mixed new headquarters for the Blacksburg-based Modea advertising agency and Rackspace computing company with a hotel, restaurant and apartments, along with a public park and other facilities. The developers said they would spend up to $85 million on the project.

Town council members said the proposal lacked imagination and didn't fit with the neighborhoods around it.

On Tuesday, Jim Cowan of Fiddler's Green and Michael Fite and Frank Kass of Continental Real Estate outlined changes made since the proposal was first presented.

Among them were a new central open space that could be used for events; reconfiguring and enlarging a park; removing about 200 of the more than 1,700 parking spaces -- a change made by pulling parking decks back from Clay Street and generally decreasing pavement within the development; adding townhouses along Clay Street that could be homes for workers at businesses at the site, and adding another bike path. The developers said they would try to work in other suggested changes such as electric car-charging stations.

Besides the company headquarters, the development still includes a hotel, now sized at 112 rooms, a 40,000-square-foot fitness center, a restaurant and 244 residential units, most of them apartments.

Council members said they appreciated the changes but criticized the lack of single-family residences or housing designed for senior citizens.

"It looks more like a student housing complex than a downtown neighborhood," Councilman Michael Sutphin said.

Developers said the county's price for the property, $5.6million, made it too expensive for single-family homes and said their research had found no market for special senior housing. Council members argued with the second point, saying other studies -- and common sense -- showed a demand.

"Everybody I talk to ... says that's silly, seniors would move there," Councilwoman Leslie Hager-Smith said.

Kass countered that senior citizens could move into any of the housing he hoped to build and said he'd look again at making some units more appealing to older residents.

The developer responded to some of the council's specific points and said others could be ironed out as the town's approval process moved along.

"Give us a little break here," Kass said, grinning.

Citing decades of development experience, Kass said that some of the council's wishes, such as more retail space, just were not realistic.

"We're going to make this good ... but I'm not going to tell you we're going to put retail in places where no one wants to shop," he said, citing Clay Street as a residential area ill-suited to stores.

When council members said they didn't want stores on Clay Street, but space inside the development for shops that would cater to residents and hotel guests, Kass said that could be done if other features were moved around. "We will look into all possible uses," he promised.

Council members said they hoped developers will keep honing their design.

"I think we still have a long way to go," Anderson said.

Blacksburg sees itself as a role model for other communities, she added. "I think we can try to make this a premier project." ___ (c)2012 The Roanoke Times (Roanoke, Va.) Visit The Roanoke Times (Roanoke, Va.) at www.roanoke.com Distributed by MCT Information Services

[ Back To SIP Trunking Home's Homepage ]

Loading
Subscribe here for your FREE
SIP TRUNKING enewslettter.

Featured Partner


Featured Whitepapers

SIP Security for the Enterprise
Voice over IP (VoIP) is incorporated into a variety of computer networks, both public and private, and used for everyday transactions and communications among carriers, businesses, government agencies...

Making A Broadband Purchase Decision
Businesses today have many options for broadband connectivity. Clarifying your particular business needs prior to selecting a broadband provider will ensure an optimal match of broadband service to your requirements.

Voice-Optimized Network Delivers Premier Call Experience
Customers equate call quality with business quality. Real-time communication, interpersonal interaction, and the cordial tone of a call center representative can create a positive impression of your business that no email can match.

Featured Case Studies

Business Telecom Expenses Reduced 50%
A small to medium sized company in the midwest was interested in migrating to IP Communications, but in today's economy, they were hesitant to upgrade their communication system due to their perception that the cost would outweigh the benefits.

Multi-State Company Cuts Telecom Costs 50%
A multi-site, multi-state company with extensive monthly long distance fees and toll-free charges did not have adequate broadband for Broadvox SIP Trunking requirements, nor did they have a SIP enabled telephone system.

Discover Leisure Connects Remote Users to its IP-PBX
Discover Leisure is one of the largest resellers of caravans and motor homes in the UK. With 15 branch of?ces all over the country, the company spent a great deal of money every month just on internal phone calls.

Featured eBOOKS

Internet+: The Way Toward Global Unified Communication
Connecting the telephony of the enterprise PBX or Unified Communications (UC) system using SIP trunks instead of conventional telephone lines has been very successful in recent years.

What is SIP Trunking? Edition 2
SIP trunking is becoming more of a focus for service providers. One key issue many service providers face when deploying SIP trunks is NAT, or Network Address Translation, traversal.

What is SIP Trunking? Edition 1
A vast resource for information about all things SIP - including SIP, security, VoIP, SIP trunking and Unified Communications.

Featured Videos

Broadvox VAR Testimonial VAR 1:
Part 1 of the VAR (Value Added Reseller) Partner Program Testimonials for Broadvox...

E-SBCs AS The Demarcation Point:
Ingate's Steve Johnson talks to Erik Linask about the role session border controller plays as the demarcation point at...

Demystifying DPI
How can deep packet inspection protect your SIP traffic as well as your entire network?

Featured Resources

Partner Program Overview:
Over 4,000 VARs, Master Agents, Solution Providers, and Independent IT Professionals trust Broadvox. We offer customized services and solutions to fit seamlessly into any company's business model. And when you partner with Broadvox, every member of our team stands behind you and your customers 100%...

SIP Trunk UC Summit

What's New

Presenting the New Ingate/Intertex Website:
Internet+ is an extended Internet access allowing high quality SIP (Session Initiation Protocol) based real-time person-to-person communication, everywhere and for any application. It applies to both fixed and mobile networks ...

Featured Blogs

Featured Webinars

Secure SIP Trunking:
What You Need to Know

Successfully Deploying Enterprise SIP Trunking:
Tools and Techniques for Overcoming Common Roadblocks

Featured Podcasts

Getting the Most Out of Your SIP Trunks:
Ingate's Steve Johnson and TMC's Erik Linask discuss how best practices forgetting the most out of SIP Trunking services and common pitfalls to avoid.

Featured Datasheets

Ingate SIParator E-SBCs
Adopting SIP is a simple process with the Ingate SIParator, the secure enterprise session border controller (E-SBC). The SIParator makes secure SIP communications - including VoIP,SIP trunking and more - possible while working seamlessly with your existing network firewall.

Ingate Firewalls
Everyone is talking about enterprise usage of VoIP, instant messaging and other types of realtime communications including presence and conferencing.

SIP Trunk Solutions for Service Providers
The award-winning Ingate Firewall and Ingate SIParator deliver a high quality, reliable SIP trunk connection between the customer's IP-PBX and the service provider network, and solve interoperability issues to simplify deployments and support for remote diagnosis of reported issues.