Downtown Roanoke Apartments More Popular Than Ever Before - FOX 21/27 WFXR Roanoke/WWCW Lynchburg News, Weather

Downtown Roanoke Apartments More Popular Than Ever Before

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Saying that downtown living is growing fast in the Star City is an understatement.

"In the past five years we've seen an increase of 50 people living downtown to over 1,300," said Price Gutshall, Downtown Roanoke Inc. economic development specialist.

That increase is what Gutshall and all of Downtown Roanoke Inc. have been waiting for to help revitalize the downtown area.

Despite multiple apartment complexes opening in recent years, apartment vacancy downtown is less than one percent.

That's motivated developers like Bill Chapman to keep building.

Chapman owns the Fulton Motor Lofts and the Lofts on West Station, which has had a waiting list since opening in January 2012.

Now he's expanding beyond Salem Avenue and closer to the city center with his latest project, the century-old Shenandoah Building, which will now be called Parkway 301.

"You can walk from one corner to the other in 10 minutes," Chapman said. "It's a very safe downtown. So when you go down your checklist of what you're looking for there are a lot of real positives here and there are some larger companies here that also create a lot of employment opportunities that does nothing but benefit us."

The demand for city living and the interest by investors is why Gutshall believes the desire to move downtown is here to stay.

"You really have this great burgeoning market and we're seeing this brand new vibrancy downtown," he said. "That's reflective of the early days of downtown."