BUENA VISTA, Va. (WDBJ7) Downtown Buena Vista has had its share of problems.
“I Mean," says City Manager Jay Scudder with a shrug, "BV has had its – and has – its issues.”
But with the appearance of Roanoke developer Ed Walker, the city thinks things are really looking up.
“The thing is a relationship we’ve kind of fostered with Ed Walker over a couple years of time,” explains Scudder:.
The first deal to close was a storefront by the iconic, Victorian library, and then they dropped one after the other: an old car dealership, its service center, nearby lots – over a dozen properties in all.
“This is huge in the work that Ed is going to do in properties that he has acquired is going to be really big,” says Tom Roberts, the city's Director of Planning and Community Development.
It's a project that city officials say provides a critical catalyst in the foundation they have been trying to build to improve their town.
“You know, the hard thing with downtown revitalization and with economic development is finding that person with the resources and the know how who’s going to come in and actually do it, and the vision to do it,” Roberts says.
“This is a very serious opportunity for Buena Vista and for Mr. Walker," says Scudder. "And so we’re looking forward to partnership and working towards whatever plans they come up with.”
It’s still a bit of a work in progress -- according to Roberts: “He’s looking for some kind of combination of mixed use, you know, retail, food, beverage, housing. The combination we don’t know yet, he doesn’t know yet" -- but it's a work that Buena Vista’s officials and residents are eager to see.