Virginia Tech Foundation buys Roanoke's old Lumber Exchange building

ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ7) - Virginia Tech continues to expand in Roanoke City piece by piece.
WDBJ7 confirmed Friday that The Virginia Tech Foundation bought the old Lumber Exchange building on Williamson Road. The sale was made official just last week, but details are slim.

The Old Lumber Exchange Building at 1255 Williamson Road was once in the midst of a bustling railroad industry in Roanoke City's South Jefferson corridor. But for the last several years, it's been falling apart.
It's only tenant is the Quality Tire Outlet on the first floor.

Last year when we checked in on the building, it was clearly in need of some TLC.
The Roanoke Valley Preservation Foundation said they were hoping someone would step up to the plate.

"To lost it would just be like kind of losing that part of history," said then President Allison Blanton.

Meanwhile the Housing Authority was working on securing a buyer.

"We have great confidence that it's really going to add to the energy that's here," said Frederik Gusler in 2018.

But all of that was kept secret - until now. The Virginia Tech Foundation bought the building in the last week for $1.2 million dollars.

The buyers have to submit an application in line with the redevelopment plan to make sure the property adds economically to the whole revitalized South Jefferson area.

"It's really good, we get a lot of customers from Carilion," said Ken Hawley, owner of Quality Tire. "That's probably the worst thing that I'm going to miss."

Hawley said he's been notified of the sale, but not much else.

He's been told he'll get a notice to vacate within 90 days, but isn't sure when that will come. But he plans to be ready to continue helping customers wherever they may be.

"We'll deal with it and we'll get us a place in time for our customers to come see us."

WDBJ7 reached out to the Housing and Development Authority, the city and the Virginia Tech Foundation today - all of whom declined to comment at all on the sale. What we do know is this is one of the last holds of the South Jefferson area - whether they'll raze it, or redevelop it remains to be seen.