Win tickets to see the smash hit musical Mamma Mia at the Roanoke Civic Center. Two winners will each receive four tickets!
JACOB DEMMITT | The Roanoke Times
Crews move dirt Wednesday as they flatten the site that will house the CineBowl & Grille entertainment complex at the First & Main shopping center in Blacksburg.
Saturday, August 3, 2013
A good-faith effort for Henry County
Kudos to Democratic Sens. Mark Warner and Tim Kaine and Republican Reps. Morgan Griffith and Robert Hurt for teaming up in an effort to eliminate a regulatory quirk that is stalling development of a long-planned business park in job-starved Henry County.
Henry County and the Martinsville-Henry County Economic Development Corp. have been trying to secure an environmental permit from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for site preparation at the planned Commonwealth Crossing Business Center. The 726-acre site is being planned with the goal of attracting manufacturing firms to the county. The corps has been reluctant to issue the permit because no company has publicly committed to the site and prepared detailed blueprints.
This chicken-and-egg dilemma has stalled development of an important project in a region that is desperate to create jobs. A company won’t move to the site without an approved permit from the corps. But the corps won’t issue a permit before the park has a committed tenant.
The two senators and two congressmen have introduced the Commonsense Permitting for Job Creation Act, which states that a permit cannot be denied for a project that lacks a committed end-user company but meets all other legal requirements.
Kaine noted that Henry County and the EDC have worked in good faith to advance the project and protect the environment. The region is fortunate that its senators and congressmen are casting aside partisan differences and making their own good-faith effort.
To hear some cinema geeks tell it, there are Imax screens and “Lie-max” screens.
Well, it looks like Blacksburg will be getting the real thing when the planned CineBowl & Grille opens at the First & Main shopping center. All 50 feet tall and 80 feet wide of the real thing. This won’t be your scaled-down, multiplex version of Imax entertainment.
There are only four “giant screen” Imax theaters in Virginia and none closer than Richmond, according to Thursday’s story by Roanoke Times reporter Jacob Demmitt. So it’s easy to see why so much excitement is building for the movie theater, restaurant and bowling alley combination and the benefits it will bring to First & Main. The shopping complex has had its struggles, but now hopes are running as high as a giant movie screen.
Hope for old health department building
Commercial developer Ed Walker wants to make a go at transforming the city’s old health department building into stores, offices and apartments.
The 62-year-old West End building drew no interest when the city asked developers to submit proposals for the site last year. Now Walker is proposing to buy it for a nominal $10 with the promise of completing a multimillion-dollar conversion within three years. If he fails to meet that deadline, or does not have a contractor actively working within two years of acquiring the building, he would pay the city $140,000.
Walker said he is still evaluating ideas for the building. The project is not an act of charity, of course. He wouldn’t take on a project with the goal of losing money. It’s a sign that even a building as challenging as the health department structure has a chance at a new life.
Weather JournalBreather before next wintry system