ROANOKE COUTNY (WSLS 10) – Roanoke County is hoping to re-develop the area surrounding Tanglewood Mall over the next 10 years.
Wednesday, the County unveiled some of its plans to the public as Blackwater Resources and Lubert Adler announced they’re buying the mall.
The idea is Tanglewood Mall would be at the center of the urban development.
The County says the biggest thing it wants to see is an increase in sidewalks, bike lanes, and green space that improve the livability of the area.
Several neighboring business owners had the chance to review the plans.
They say, they’re on-board.
Roanoke County has been talking about making changes in the 419 corridor for years, but Play It Again Sports owner Chick Duus says with the sale of Tanglewood Mall, he’s confident work will begin soon.
“The Tanglewood Mall, unfortunately, has been on a decline for a lot of years and it’s pretty exciting that the concept that someone could come along and rejuvenate that land space,” said Duus.
Duus and dozens of other business owners in the community got to see what Roanoke Coutny’s consultant, Stantec, has been designing for the area’s future.
The renderings reveal a smaller parking lot, new store fronts with housing above, and grassy fountain areas.
“Instead of walking through parking lots, one day you’ll be strolling along streets,” said Stantec Consultant David Dixon.
Dixon says that walk-ability is what has to change to draw in more residents, and more business.
“It used to be the easiest place to drive with the best parking and the cheapest parking did best. Today, it is the place where it is the most fun to walk,” said Dixon.
Holiday Inn owner Bhupesh Patel lives near Tanglewood with his family.
He says there are no sidewalks, and changing that is his top priority.
“I want to be somewhere where I just go and just sit with my wife and talking to her and let my kids have their own time. Just walk around, and I feel safe,” said Patel.
County Economic Development Director Jill Loope says Patel’s dream is exactly what the county would like to see in the future.
“Our goal is to improve transportation access, safety. Make this corridor more pedestrian friendly. How can we provide ways for redevelopment to occur? How can we look at new types of urban development concepts, mixed use developments?” said Loope.
Dixon says those developments could be right down the road.
“10 years from now, I’ll be confident, I’m confident there will be a lot of change. 5 years you’ll be able to see it,” said Dixon.
Loope says the County has already shared its plans with Tanglewood’s new owners, and it will be working with the investment group to make some of those urban developments a reality.