Developer Jeanne Stosser will be presenting her group’s plans for the much-anticipated development of the old middle school site in Blacksburg Monday evening.
Stosser submitted plans to the town last month that call for a mixed-use development that includes a hotel and commercial space (restaurant, retail or office) for the front portion of the property facing Main Street, while the back portion of the property on Eheart and Clay Streets calls for a new police station, parking garage, public park, community plaza and multifamily residences. In total, the value of the development is approximately $150 million.
The property would have to be rezoned from single-family homes to mixed use, a process that is still in its infancy. Stosser said that they plan to donate the park, and public use plazas to the town.
An in-depth presentation of the proposed development is the purpose of Monday’s meeting. Stosser will be there to talk about the proposal as well to answer questions, and involve the public early in the process according to the town’s website.
The meeting is at 7 p.m. in the Roger E. Hedgepeth Chambers at the Blacksburg Municipal Building (300 S. Main St.). Other meetings will be scheduled in December and January before the Planning Commission public hearing is held.
The Planning Commission public hearing is not anticipated to occur until February 2018. Town Council public hearings will be scheduled after the Planning Commission takes action on the rezoning.
Stosser and the town both agree that there are many details that still need to be worked out.
“As we’ve all learned, we can’t enter an agreement based on a pattern book or an attractive schematic,” Councilwoman and Mayor-elect Leslie Hager-Smith said. “The development agreement needs to spell out: town financial support for public spaces; transfer of public properties; restrictions on residential uses; construction of public improvement; and the quality of development/architecture.”
Town Manager Marc Verniel echoed Hager-Smith’s thoughts.
“This is definitely one of the best plans we have seen to this point,” he said. “Everything is still pretty conceptual, though.”
Stosser agrees that there will likely be changes throughout the process, but has said that this will be the last time her group submits a new proposal. Her contingency plan if the current deal were to fall through is to extend the Fiddler’s Green development adjacent to the property to 19.5-acre parcel, something she has no desire to do.
“It would be a horrible disappointment for me, and a travesty for the town,” she said.
Stosser did say that she doesn’t believe that will happen, having received a largely positive response at multiple forums (held by various civic groups) over the last month.
Stosser’s group Midtown Redevelopment L.L.C. agreed to purchase the front 5.49 acres of property for $2.5 million from Montgomery County earlier this week. The closing will take place no later than Dec. 7.
In April of 2016, Fiddler’s Green L.L.C. (another of Stosser’s companies) entered into a sales agreement with Montgomery County to purchase the rear 14 acres of the former Blacksburg Middle School site for $1.75 million.
Midtown Development has up to a year from the December closing to make a payment on the property, but will pay taxes on the property in the meantime as well as being responsible for the property’s upkeep.
The full application, meeting schedule and other documents may be found at www.blacksburg.gov/obms and the website will be updated as new meetings are scheduled or documents added.