Christiansburg Marketplace to add multi-family residences, hotel, grocery store

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CHRISTIANSBURG, Va. (WDBJ7) - The team redeveloping the Christiansburg Marketplace plans to add multi-family residences, a hotel, and an anchor grocery store — creating a shopping/living/visiting district connected to two of the largest towns in Virginia.

The plan for the new community is to have it situated for young professionals, visitors and thriving businesses, according to Walt Rector, the founding principal of Bromont Investments in Flagstaff, Arizona. Rector is leading the effort to reimagine a shopping center that was mostly empty for years.

“We want to bring to Marketplace a high-level residential development with excellent amenities and a lodging option that allows residents and guests to walk to restaurants and shopping,” Rector explained. “Marketplace will be an ideal place to live, work, visit, eat and shop. It’s in a perfect location — close to jobs, families and highways in this growing technology region,” he said.

The pandemic has not halted the construction, design and planning for Marketplace. “In spite of the economic uncertainty, we are very optimistic about success,” said Rector. “This is my sixth downturn and we know how to move forward and pivot as needed.”

The key to unlocking the district’s potential, Rector said, was creating a new entrance on North Franklin Street, connecting directly to Shoppers Way and the New River Valley Mall. The new entrance was completed this month after nine tenants were announced, including Mission BBQ, Starbucks, Chipotle, Orangetheory Fitness, and Sandro’s, which specializes in pizza and Italian food. “Our leasing continues to go very well and we’re getting some very exciting tenants and owners,” said Rector. Skyline National Bank, for example, has purchased land in Marketplace near the new entrance.

Landscape plans throughout the district will create more of a park-like atmosphere, according to Rector.

The redevelopment team has established three acres in the northeast corner of the property for the residential area, which will house 150-350 apartments. The team is in discussions with regional multifamily housing developers and has listed the property with Segall Group of Arlington and Baltimore.

The building at the northeast corner that was initially built for Walmart and later housed Books-a-Million and Tractor Supply will be razed to accommodate the residences and hotel. “This project is geared toward employees of the nearby hospitals, the Virginia Tech Corporate Research Center and the many, growing tech firms nearby,” Rector explained. “The apartment market is strong in the area and it’s a great environment that is part of an active retail district. You’ll be able to walk to Starbucks for coffee and restaurants for dinner.”

The apartments could be available to begin leasing as soon as 2021, Rector said.

The team is also in discussions with several hotel groups to build a mid-sized hotel adjacent to the apartments. Due to the economic conditions and the collapse of the travel industry, most hotel construction across the country is on hold, according to Rector. “Most likely, the residences will be available before the hotel is built,” he said.

Multiple grocery stores are also considering leasing Marketplace’s anchor space. The Marketplace team is currently in discussions with three different grocers; two new to this market that offer premium organic foods and a third that is already in the market and wants to expand with a new, upscale concept, Rector said.

“We have always planned a grocery store for Marketplace. And we are still confident we will have one in the district,” he said.

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