Vinton Vinyard Station to breathe new life into former Ford dealership

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VINTON, Va. (WDBJ) -- A redevelopment project to breathe new life into the old Ford dealership on South Pollard Street in Downtown Vinton is moving forward.

Renovations are now underway on what will soon be a restaurant and retail or office space.

“It’s kind of the gateway into our downtown business district,” said Vinton Assistant Town Manager Richard Peters.

The Vinton Motors Building served as an iconic downtown Ford dealership for more than 70 years. Now, it is set to begin its second chapter as the Vinton Vinyard Station.

“It adds to the fabric of an already bustling neighborhood,” said developer Dale Wilkinson.

The name, Vinton Vinyard Station, is a hat tip to the man who started the dealership in the mid-1930s, William Vinyard.

“As a developer, I want to be able to do something that makes a difference in the community – not just make money – but do something that honors the people before us that helped this project come about and at the same time make the people who live here proud of what they have," said Wilkinson.

Wilkinson is the heading up the 3-million dollar renovation to transform the former showroom and service center into a new unannounced restaurant -- that we’re told has Roanoke-area roots – and room for two or three retail or office spaces.

“It really is the heartbeat of the town," said Wilkinson. It’s in an ideal location and it was begging for redevelopment for the last 10 years.”

The Town of Vinton and Roanoke County just signed a memorandum of understanding which will help fund the project. The Town is putting $750,000 into the project, and the County will reimburse $200,000 of that back to the town after tax revenue starts rolling in.

“We expect to generate about $130,000 of new revenue annually. As the other spaces are filled, that will only increase,” said Peters.

The restaurant and developer are finalizing design plans for that part of this development. It’s still unknown when the restaurant name will be announced, but it plans to open its doors by the end of next summer.

The developer is still working to secure retail or office tenants for the rest of the building.

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