Developers propose 825-bedroom student housing development in Blacksburg

BLACKSBURG, Va. (WDBJ) -- Bubbly babies are frequent flyers at Blacksburg's Romp n' Roll, located inside a dance studio owned and operated by John Stemen and his wife.

"The dance part is really important, particularly to my wife," Stemen said. "She grew this baby from start to finish and it wants to be around for another 50 or 100 years."

But the property is located on land where a new student housing complex is slated to go up.

The Standard at Blacksburg would house more than 800 residents and would also include some commercial space and a parking garage.

Stemen said if the proposal gets approved, he's willing to sell off the land.

"North Main needs kind of like a revitalization and growth, and it's a great area to have something like this," he said.

He's willing to move his business to a bigger location, as Blacksburg's latest off-campus housing project hopes to move in.

The complex would have a new public transit site and include a bicycle spot for every bedroom.

"Local research and current market analyses show a clear need for more student housing options near campus, as enrollment at Virginia Tech continues to grow year after year," said Wes Rogers, president and CEO of Landmark Properties, in a statement.

“The Standard will help meet this demand while simultaneously providing economic development opportunities for new and existing businesses. We look forward to getting this project off the ground and serving the Hokie community for many years to come.”

Meanwhile, Stemen said he's optimistic projects like this will benefit the town in the long run.

"[Landmark has] done a pretty good job, in my opinion, of doing this right," he said. "I wouldn't want to sell this building to something that ended up being a boondoggle or a mess. I think this is actually going to be a pretty good thing for north Blacksburg."

The proposal is set to be considered by the Blacksburg Planning Commission with a public hearing at its meeting on July 2.