Planning commission votes to allow Blacksburg’s tallest building

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BLACKSBURG, Va. (WDBJ7)— Blacksburg could soon be seeing its tallest building come to town. That’s because the planning commission has just given the green light to make it possible.

On Tuesday, the planning commission voted for a zoning ordinance change to allow a 100-foot building along Prices Fork Road.

“This will create a very big footprint in that part of town, and it really has the potential architecturally to really influence the character of a big portion of the town for years to come,” said chairman Andy Kassoff.

WDBJ7 introduced you to the Gilbert Street Mixed-Use Redevelopment back in June. The plan is still to demolish the former Buffalo Wild Wings building at 211 Prices Fork Road and 400 Turner Street. They would be replaced with a new one that will likely be as tall as the North End Garage, but with wider sidewalks along Gilbert St. that Kassoff said perhaps won’t make it feel as tall as it sounds architecturally.

“I think that will really help to mitigate the height of the building, the pedestrian experience, with respect to the height of that building,” Kassoff said.

Commercial space would be on the ground level with four stories of office and classroom space for Virginia Tech and a rooftop restaurant. Plans also show 257 more parking spaces, expanding what currently exists into a tiered parking deck system.

Kassoff said there’s potential for a 25 percent increase in traffic along Prices Fork Road, and 15 percent along Main Street during peak times. Currently, studies are being done to figure out how to best handle the traffic and future traffic along the town’s two main arteries.

“I think traffic is a reality for us now into the future, I think we’re just now beginning to see the impacts of traffic in this town,” Kassoff said. “But it’s really ultimately up to the town council as to whether or not they want to see it move forward.”

The council has a work session planned for November 19, and then they would likely vote on the project at the following council meeting, after a public hearing.

The planning commission voted 5-2 to recommend this project to council Tuesday night.

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