Allegheny Partners renderingsDeveloper Lucas Thornton has hit the pause button on a planned office building tower at the former Valley Metro Campbell Court bus station, due to a declining need for office space in downtown Roanoke. Like other cities across the U.S. since the pandemic – including New York for example – many are still working remotely without coming back to the physical office. Thornton tells the Roanoke Times that space instead will open this summer as a pocket park, complete with turf, landscaping, furniture, a stage and artwork.

Thornton says he and his Hist;Re Partners firm expects to build that office tower within the next 1-3 years, if market conditions improve. Current occupancy rate for downtown offices stands at 86% according to commercial realtor Poe & Cronk – down 3% since 2021. However, a 5-story apartment building at the old Campbell Court named The Bower will be available to tenants as of this May, with three retail spots open on the ground floor.

The Bower will be leased by Allegheny Partners, which says of the apartment building, offering 1–2-bedroom units: “We have a dedicated co-working area where you can find inspiration and focus. Want to stay fit? Our large private gym is fully equipped with state-of-the-art equipment. And for our furry friends, we have a dog washing station and even a turf area for them to play and stretch their legs.”