By Marty Gordon
A proposed mixed-use housing-retail project along one of the busiest corridors in the New River Valley will move forward after Christiansburg leaders gave their okay Tuesday night. The rezoning for the Halberstadt Family Limited Partnership at 495 Peppers Ferry Road, Route 114, will be moved from B-1, Limited Business to B-3, General Business. Stateson Homes hopes for mixed use on a 28.6acre site, which is located directly behind New River Valley Mall.
The project has been labeled “Clifton Town Center” and proposes commercial spaces directly across the road from Merchant’s Tire and Bull and Bones restaurant.
Recently, a signal light was added at the major intersection of the property at the corner of Peppers Ferry and Quinn Stuart Blvd.
The application from Balzer Engineering and Architectural said, “As growth continues in the New River Valley, more alternative housing opportunities are needed.” The application said that the “success of the Adams at Peppers Ferry and the Clifton townhome development has shown there is a demand in Christiansburg for higher-end apartment and townhome living.”
The addition of a vertical mixed-use product in the Clifton Town Center, according to the rezoning request, will bring a new product to the market at three to four stories over office and retail spaces and restaurants.
The plans lean toward high-tech office use for which interest has been expressed.The group said the location is ideal for this type of development, as it will provide a transition from the intense commercial use at the intersection of Peppers Ferry Road and North Franklin Street to the residential uses located to the north and west of the site.
As many as 100 apartments and townhomes are included as part of the project. The timetable for construction is five to eight years. The town’s planning commission also recommended approval of the rezoning, and Tuesday the Christiansburg Town Council unanimously approved the rezoning request.
Councilman Brad Stipes called the town center “creative development” for the community.
The vote also included a conditional use permit that allows for the planned commercial development on 18 acres of the property.
The decision came moments after the governmental body the heard preliminary results of a regional housing study that determined the New River Valley needs more home ownership units. The report said that new units do not address needs among low- and medium-income households. Units are being developed across the region, the report said, but are not keeping pace with growth. Christiansburg is leading the way in construction of housing, but is still not keeping pace with demand. According to the same study, an estimated 5,500 units are needed to catch up with the current and future numbers.
Jonathon Cobb with the office of Virginia Housing told the council that the area has an extreme need for “affordable housing opportunities.” He recommended the town look at residential areas in the downtown corridor that are walkable and affordable and have businesses like coffee shops and restaurants.
“I also recommend when you look at future housing to consider ones that help our aging population with things like single-floor homes that are accessible for seniors,” Cobb said.
Two other residential project requests were tabled by the council during Tuesday’s meeting.