The Roanoker - January/February 2018 - VL10
ohn Garland of Garland Properties in Roanoke
calls it "a shift in the way we live." Garland has
been one of the instigators of that shift, renovating old buildings-residential and commercial-throughout the city and creating a major
movement downtown, where fewer than 150 people
lived just a few years ago.
The downtown population has grown to an occupancy of nearly 2,000 units of housing, according to
Garland, though numbers vary on the population,
2,500 being the most popular estimate. Regardless
of the estimate, however, the trend is inescapable:
downtown is growing, mostly with young people
and seniors, but with very few children.
MILLENNIALS ENJOY DOWNTOWN LIVING.
10 | 2018 VALLEY LIFE MAGAZINE
That growth is probably the most significant real
change in the Roanoke Valley-save for the growth
of Southern Botetourt County as a Roanoke bedroom community-in the last 20 years.
"There is no real concern about filling newly-available housing downtown," says Garland, who has sold
out several complexes almost instantly upon completion of renovations. "Developers don't want to be
the last man out in filling these new apartments and
there is no guarantee. We keep asking, 'Where are all
these people coming from?'
"We see an increase in the millennial population,
but not enough to justify the increases we've seen
downtown. There has to be a shift somewhere."
(PREVIOUS PAGES) COTTON MILL LOFTS: COURTESY OF THE COTTON MILL LOFTS / DOWNTOWN GROUP: PAT CORI PHOTOGRAPHY