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Deal paused on project to bring Marriott Hotel and parking garage to downtown Roanoke

Published: Jun. 23, 2021 at 5:10 PM EDT
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ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ) - In the last two weeks, the city of Roanoke has officially decided to press pause on a project that’s nearly three years in the making.

Back in September of 2018, city council members voted unanimously to move forward with putting a 150-room Marriott Hotel and a 500-space parking garage in space that is currently used as parking lots in between Church Avenue and Williamson Road.

According to Marc Nelson, who is the current Economic Development Manager for the city, but soon director effective July 13, pausing is the most plausible.

“The developer did as well, they agreed with us on this, to wait to move another construction project forward. We just want to see how things come back, in terms of businesses and people returning to downtown,” said Nelson.

The developer is Big Lick Hospitality LLC, out of Greenville, South Carolina.

They were set to purchase two lots, one the city owns, and one a private company owns to create the construction site.

The two lots have seen their fair share of crime tape recently. In July 2020, Roanoke Police released body camera footage where dozens of rounds of shots can be heard going off. Last weekend, two people were injured by gunfire, and the lots were again used to search for evidence.

“It [the project] would be great for that parking lot, it would be great for public safety, but we have to be prudent economically about what we do right now,” said Nelson.

Another factor carefully considered was the number of parking spaces.

“Over time the city has been looking at where we stand as far as the parking system, and as parkers come back online, we see where capacity is, and we see what the revenues are,” said Nelson.

PARK Roanoke currently has 4 lots and 7 garages, which equals almost 4,000 spaces.

Even with downtown residents and people who work downtown using spaces, around 2,000 spaces are open, according to current data, for monthly users and daily parkers combined.

Nelson said there is a chance this project will get looked at again in the future.

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