Roanoke, VA - Over the past decade downtown Roanoke has seen its fair share of construction with a lot of that dedicated to rebuilding a lost downtown population.
Since that trend began, Roanoke's downtown population has grown from less than 100 to more than 1,200 - much of that coming within the past five years.
"Builds momentum over time as the market becomes realized and more and more demand develops," said Roanoke's Assistant City Manager, Brian Townsend.
All over downtown, buildings have been converted: The Patrick Henry, The Cotton Mill and 28 Church Avenue; a set of downtown lofts managed by Randy Boush.
"You can get a little bit of both. You can get the urban living but we are still surrounded by the mountains so it offers a unique living experience to live in downtown Roanoke," said Boush.
Boush's colleague at Waldvogel Commercial Properties, Jason Fountain, has been a part of this momentum.
Rentals really started picking up just as the nation began to fight off a great depression that forced buyers to take cover.
"People still needed a place to live. Downtown was still an attractive place to be so the rental market just took off," said Fountain.
And the boom isn't over.
More than 250 more residential units are either planned or are currently under construction, all bringing with them the business and the buzz that a rejuvenated population can add to the downtown experience.
"Now you have, really, a 24-hour a day population with folks that are actually living in downtown and that's very healthy for everybody," said Townsend.