Botetourt County packs house for housing summit

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BOTETOURT CO., Va. (WDBJ7) Botetourt County Leaders hosted a housing summit Monday, bringing all the pieces of development under one roof. This comes after a recent report shows a home shortfall looming on the horizon. The summit was designed to prime the pump of housing development in the area.

Shayne Dwyer/WDBJ7

When there's an economic boom, sometimes the best way to see the opportunity for yourself is on four wheels in the company of those who can help you get it done.

"We brought everyone together to simply have those conversations face time, face time is critical," Botetourt County Director of Economic Development Ken McFadyen said.

This bus tour of economic growth is part of Botetourt County's housing summit. Developers see Botetourt as a prime investment.

"The biggest thing we're looking at is the opportunity of multi-family out here right now, there seems to be a dire need for it and we're looking to help out and help the community get what they need," Turner Long Construction President and CEO Boyd Long said.

A study commissioned by the county shows a lack of affordable housing options for the new jobs coming to town. About 100 people from the puzzle of real estate like landowners, banks and developers met to brainstorm and start the conversation.

Keynote speaker Kit Hale is the Principal Broker at MKB Realtors and Chairman of Housing Virginia, a statewide organization that provides tools and resources for affordable housing.

"Whether Botetourt County has been called flat footed, I don't think that's the case, but I think that Botetourt County with all the influx of economic development they see now that they have a housing need," Hale said. "The takeaway and what I hope to give folks is to keep the conversation going, make sure that they were able to build these relationships, begin these relationships today and then this is just the beginning."

The effects of adding jobs are lessened when those employees live somewhere else. Increasing the affordable home stock is critical to success.

"We'd love to see a project come out of this, a developer who may not have necessarily have met previously a landowner, who met with a bank today," McFadyen said. "And they put the pieces together today or start to put those pieces together today and have a project come down in the next three to six months for us."

With a number of jobs incoming soon, getting it done in a time-effective manner, and getting it done right will be the difference. Turner Long Construction said it's "highly interested" in two multifamily residential projects in the county.

"Hopefully in the next week or two we'll have a little bit more information and maybe in about 30 days (we'll have an announcement) about what we're going to do," Long said. They'll absolutely (be coming in at that affordable price point), there's a dire need for it."