The redevelopment of a former car dealership in downtown Vinton is receiving a funding boost from Roanoke County and the town government.
The project, known as Vinyard Station, will receive an economic development incentive of $750,000 from Vinton. And in turn, the county will reimburse the town $200,000 from the tax revenue generated by the development.
The Roanoke County Board of Supervisors unanimously approved Wednesday a memorandum of understanding between the town and the county for the tax reimbursement.
Vinton Motors, located at the busy intersection of Pollard Street and Washington Avenue, closed in 2009 after more than 70 years in business. The property has been vacant since.
In 2017, Vinton issued a request for development proposals and accepted one from the Wilkinson Group to redevelop the property into a multi-tenant facility.
The property will have space for three tenants. A taproom-style restaurant has agreed to a 10-year lease and will occupy about one-third of the available space. The restaurant anticipates hiring more than 15 employees.
The $750,000 incentive from the town operates as a performance agreement between the town, the developer and the Roanoke County Economic Development Authority.
Under the agreement, Vinton will pay $250,000 toward the purchase of eight vacant parcels to establish parking and pedestrian access for the site. Then the town will pay $50,000 annually for 10 years.
The incentive will offset costs for building improvements, needed downtown parking and open pedestrian areas that are part of the proposed development.
The agreement also contains protections to relieve the town from its commitment if the project does not materialize, does not meet investment goals or is sold before the end of the agreement.
The Vinton Town Council was briefed on the project on Tuesday and will vote on the performance agreement Nov. 19, Town Manager Barry Thompson said.
The tax rebate approved by the county Wednesday will help offset the cost of Vinton’s performance incentive. The county will reimburse the town up to $40,000 per year for five years from the new local tax revenue generated by the project.
If the development generates less than expected, then the reimbursement for that year will also be less.
The project is expected to generate more than $130,000 annually in tax revenue for the town and the county.
Vinyard Station is expected to open in fall 2020. The county’s first payment to Vinton will be made in January 2022, after the station’s first full year of operations.
The town first announced the development in December. Dale Wilkinson, the developer, said he wants the project to honor the property’s history and its unique features. Touches planned include showcasing the arch of bowstring trusses that line the building’s ceiling.
Outside of the restaurant, he said, the group is open to proposals for the remaining space that will be created.
“We’re looking for people who want to be part of the renaissance of Vinton,” said Wilkinson, who previously helped spearhead the project that brought upscale lofts to the long-vacant Roland E. Cook Elementary School property.
“There is a lot of critical mass here,” he said of the town. The time is ripe for projects that carve out more opportunities for people to live, work and play in Vinton, he said.