The Valleydale meatpacking plant in Salem that closed in 2006 is finally being repurposed by local developers Ed Walker and Joe Thompson. The $50 million venture will include more than 300 upscale apartments and amenities, along with some commercial outparcels. Walker – who blazed the way in downtown Roanoke for turning older buildings into living spaces – has owned the property since 2017 and has spent years figuring out the most feasible use for 123-thousand square foot former Valleydale plant. Tommy Miller is the Director of Economic Development for the City of Salem:
(Salem News Release) The City of Salem is pleased to announce a major economic development project with Valleydale Catalyst, LLC and its principles Ed Walker and Joe Thompson. The proposed $50 million venture at the former Valleydale Meat Packing and Processing plant will eventually bring more than 300 upscale apartment units and a variety of resort style amenities to the property.
“We are extremely excited to formally approve this investment in our great city,” says Salem Mayor Renee Turk. “Each and every council member truly believes that this will be transformational for all of Salem.”
The Valleydale property is a located on the corner of Indiana and 8th streets less than a half mile from the Salem Civic Center, Kiwanis Field, and the Rotary Dog Park. Walker purchased it in 2017 and he has spent the better part of five years trying to find a suitable use or tenant for the building.
“We’ve worked through dozens of possibilities over the past five years originally hoping to use state and federal
historic tax credits,” says Walker. “Some were commercial and industrial prospects, but modern manufacturers
and processors have very different needs and requirements these days. I knew it would be my most challenging
project to date.”
The original 23,000 square foot facility was built in 1936 and in 1948 two additions were added to the structure
taking its footprint to more than 120,000 square feet. It employed thousands of workers for decades until
Valleydale closed the plant in 2006. “The haphazard nature of the multiple additions made it impossible to walk from one end of the building to the other in a straight line, so we understand why finding a new tenant has been such a challenge,” says Salem City Manager, Jay Taliaferro. “It needs a lot of remediation from its prior use and let’s not forget that it sits in the flood
When Walker purchased the property five years ago, he said it would be a “tough puzzle” to figure out but
promised that he would “be swinging for the fences.” “I wish we could have preserved the building, but the historic tax credit oversight agency wouldn’t allow any new windows on any exterior sides,” he says. “This new Valleydale project in its identity, architecture and public space decor will celebrate the history of the company and the generations that worked there. Plus, the silver lining is that this project is four times more valuable to the city than any other concept.”
Walker and Thompson will invest at least $50 million in the site, and they plan to build between 300 and 330 units spread out in three buildings with amenities that will include a pool and terrace area, club rooms, a gym, dog run, car and pet washing areas, large greenspaces, garage, covered and surface parking, extensive landscaping, and many other features.
“We are thankful to be welcomed by the City of Salem in this dynamic public-private partnership,” says
Thompson. “We will deliver a quality modern product, as typically seen in urban environments, combined with
the sense of place and amenities realized in a suburban community. T