Local Business and Economic Development

The transformation of the old William Byrd High School into The Billy Byrd apartment complex is complete. Town of Vinton and Roanoke County officials helped cut the ribbon today. There are 82 1-and-2 bedroom apartments ready to be leased says developer David Walker. Waukeshaw Development invested 12 million dollars in the project; which left many of the old high school features intact – including the gymnasium floor – in order to be eligible for historic tax credits.

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WFIR/Evan Jones

The group behind efforts to see Amtrak service extended to the New River Valley say state transportation officials are firmly behind the idea — but local supporters must be prepared to remain patient. Rail advocates say visit last week from Secretary of Transportation Shannon Valentine to Christiansburg was very encouraging. WFIR’s Evan Jones has the story:

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Daniel Lemons (left) with John Schop from VWCC (submitted)

A chef from Center Stage catering has been awarded a full scholarship to the Al Pollard Culinary Arts Program after winning a competition last week at the annual memorial gala named for the late restaurateur. Daniel Lemons received an $8000 scholarship to cover the two-year Virginia Western Community College program. He’s particularly fond of barbecue. Lemons recently was named lead chef at the Blue Ridge Hotel in Roanoke.




Tricked out Airstream/G Marrano photo

Those passing through the Roanoke City market area last night may have noticed what looked like a “pop up” restaurant with two Airstream trailers equipped as lounges, dining tables and food stations. It was the launch of the Pink Flamingo Food Company. Long-time caterer Jim Schaal says they will offer the onsite service in a variety of settings. Last night they catered an outdoor wedding rehearsal dinner.

RBRA photo

Three airlines serving Roanoke-Blacksburg Regional Airport are adding more capacity this month on flights to and from the airport. This was already shaping up as ROA’s busiest year since 2000, and this additional capacity should help even more. Airport officials say more capacity should translate into lower airfares. WFIR’s Evan Jones has more:

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Vinton town leaders say the recent demolition of a former business building is just an early part of the process to bring a new look to one of the main routes into downtown. What was Super Auto Sales building as you turned onto the South Pollard Street from Virginia Avenue is now gone. It is one of five adjacent properties there the town is working to purchase with a long-term goal in mind, as WFIR’s Evan Jones reports:

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Google Maps street view of the Super Auto Sales property before its recent demolition. The home to the left is also among those on the town’s list.