Richmond design firm Baskervill to create master plan for Riverdale project

Published: Nov. 15, 2023 at 7:30 PM EST
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ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ) - The Riverdale project continues to move forward in southeast Roanoke.

Developer Ed Walker has announced the selection of the Richmond design firm Baskervill to create the master plan for the Roanoke Industrial Center site.

“Our goal is to turn Riverdale into an amazing place,” Walker told a group of employees, tenants and other stakeholders Wednesday afternoon.

Walker said his team stopped counting at two million pounds of debris removed from the site and recycled. He said environmental conditions are more favorable than he first feared. And he said he’s ready to take the next step with the Richmond based and nationally-known firm.

Burt Pinnock is Baskervill’s Board Chair.

“This is stuff that was built to last,” Pinnock said of the existing buildings in the Riverdale project. “And it was meant to be here. and it is meant to have a new life.”

The Riverdale site was once home to the American Viscose Plant and, more recently, a variety of tenants in the Roanoke Industrial Center.

Some we spoke with said they like what they’re hearing and hope there will be a place for them in the final plan.

Brian Counihan is a Roanoke artist who has a studio in the complex of buildings.

“And so, we’re hoping we get to stay,” he said. “It sounds like we are, so that sounds really good so far.”

The city of Roanoke has invested $10 million in the project, and City Manager Bob Cowell said he’s happy with the progress Walker and his team have made so far.

“You can already look around this property and see how much stuff has been cleaned up and removed,” Cowell told WDBJ7. “That was key to this effort and getting this team on board to move to the next step is exactly where we want to be.”

The developer and his design firm want to hear from residents of the area, and the planning process will accelerate quickly.

Community meetings will start early next year, with some preliminary results by February, and a final master plan expected next Spring.