More apartments bring growth to downtown Roanoke

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ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ7) April Lynch grew up in the Roanoke area. She said the city looked different years ago.

"We wouldn't see that many restaurants," said Lynch. "A lot of the buildings were abandoned."

Recently, several of those abandoned buildings have been turned into apartments, more are popping up.

According to Roanoke Incorporated, just five years ago there was a little more than 500 apartments units downtown. Now there are nearly 1,200 apartment units and they're expecting that number to increase in the next year.

More people means more opportunities for businesses.

Jamie Clark is the spokesperson for Downtown Roanoke Incorporated. She said the new residents are a mix of young professionals, seniors and young families.

"All of them, before the door even open they're pretty much all filled," said Clark. "I think just the vibrancy of downtown Roanoke, there's a ton to do here."

This comes as the city is planning a public meeting to update their downtown plan. That's something that has Lynch dreaming.

"I picture it flourishing and just expanding and growing and just becoming a bigger city," she said.