Ten years ago, the Vinton business center was a field of opportunities to attract big businesses. But, as Vinton Town Manager Chris Lawrence says, things change.
"We have a place, and our place is with smaller sites that would have business such as Cardinal Glass that need that five to 10 acres," Lawrence says.
Roanoke is limited in land, says acting director for economic development Jill Loope, which is a challenge when trying to get companies able to employ hundreds that need a lot of space to build.
"You have to get creative today with economic development especially in this area because we are so limited," Loope says.
The largest available lot at the Vinton Business Center is 18.5 acres, but Loope says most companies are asking for 20 to 25 acres, ruling out land available in Roanoke County.
Loope says the future of economic development in the valley rests on partnerships with places that have land. Last month, Red Sun Farms announced they were moving to the New River Valley Commerce Park in Pulaski, bringing 205 jobs. Roanoke County worked to help create the commerce park and bring the company to Pulaski, and in return they get tax revenues and jobs for folks willing to drive 60 miles to work from Roanoke.
"The New River Valley has been successful for attracting jobs and what is good for the New River Valley is good for Roanoke," Loope says.