Market building board seeks feedback on future of the Roanoke landmark

Published: Aug. 16, 2023 at 7:17 PM EDT
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ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ) - Kevin Brown opened Reggae Grub Jamaican Cuisine in April.

“What most people favor is the jerk chicken and the oxtail,” Brown said. “And we try to go as natural as possible and as authentic as possible.”

And he’s excited about the potential for improvements to the operation of the Roanoke City Market Building.

“The more you can get people in here, it’s better, not just for the businesses here, but for downtown and the businesses within downtown,” he said.

With recent changes downtown and the lingering effects of the pandemic, the board that operates the building believes the time is right to ask how the facility can meet the needs of the community today.

The Market Building Foundation is working with the local firm Eddy Alexander to develop a new plan, and they hope to bring community voices into the creative process. One of the first steps is a survey.

Elliot Broyles is Executive Director of the Market Building Foundation.

“We want to figure out what is the best use of this building,” Broyles told WDBJ7 in an interview. “What kind of inspiration can we get from the people of Roanoke? Can we get buy-in from the community to help reinvigorate this space?”

Broyles said two of the three empty spaces inside the market building will be filled this fall. And he’s looking forward to hearing what the community wants from the Roanoke landmark.

“I think of the city market building as the cornerstone of downtown, so if we are successful, it obviously benefits our restaurants, but I think it benefits the downtown area as a whole, Broyles said. “And so I look forward to seeing what the results of this are, the changes we make and how that changes downtown Roanoke for the better.”

Anyone interested in sharing their opinion has until midnight Sept. 11 to complete the survey, which you can find here.

Management of the city market building says it won’t be long before we see the impact of those ideas.