Blacksburg Passes Rezoning Measure for IMAX Theater - FOX 21/27 WFXR Roanoke/WWCW Lynchburg News, Weather

Blacksburg Passes Rezoning Measure for IMAX Theater

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Tuesday night Blacksburg Town Council voted unanimously 7-0 to rezone First & Main Shopping Center so CineBowl & Grille can be built.

An empty space is chock full of potential in Blacksburg. After Tuesday's vote, crews are expected to break ground Thursday on a new IMAX theater, CineBowl & Grille, at the town's First & Main Shopping Center.

"We are hopefully going to have new customers, new connections coming in that will help increase sales," said Mark Shrader, who co-owns Bull and Bones Restaurant.

It is a place that's served as First & Main's anchor tenant for nearly five years. After Tuesday night's vote, Frank Theaters CineBowl & Grille will take that spot.

"All the shops here have helped out in many different ways in being anchor tenants, in being a destination," Shrader said. "[Frank Theaters] is just going to add to that and it will add a regional pull for First & Main."

Town leaders say the complex's restaurants contributed around $325,000 in meals tax money in 2012, and Bull and Bones contributed the most of that share. The developer's attorney says when Frank Theaters have opened in a new area in the past, those areas have seen a significant increase in tax revenue.

Town council member Krisha Chachra is the liaison between the town and the shopping center. She is hopeful the expected revenue increase will help pay for town improvements.

"Facilities such as the upgrading of our Blacksburg Parks and Rec, a new fire and rescue station, maybe upgrading some of our trail systems and our green spaces. That all takes money and that money and those resources can come from new development," Chachra said.

If everything goes according to plan, this project is scheduled to be completed at the beginning of next year.