City Market Building Prepares For Opening in August

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The Roanoke City Market building has seen a variety of renovations since it was first constructed in 1922.

The Roanoke City Market building has seen a variety of renovations since it was first constructed in 1922.

by Valerie Garner

A soft opening in mid-August may not have all the spaces 100 percent full, said Roger Elkin managing partner with Hall and Associates, Inc. There are a total of 30 spaces to lease.

At Monday morning’s council briefing Elkin said that “there is high demand for the food/restaurant spaces but retailers have been the biggest difficulty due to the economy.”

At the soft opening there may be three to five retail spaces unfilled. Tenants’ are responsible to complete the build-out of their spaces. Rent will run from $37.65 to $49.95 a square foot and is all-inclusive. There will be no extra common area maintenance or other fees.

The cost will depend on the location with the front corner location, like that held by Tavern on the Market, coming in at top dollar.

In comparison, when the city leased the building the cost per square foot was inconsistent with tenants paying a range from $33.45 to $51.66 not including a common area maintenance fee.

Phil Davis, assistant manager for The Hotel Roanoke and Market Foundation member explained that the third floor space with a stage will bear the name “Charter Hall.” It will have carpet inserts over the wooden dance floors for protection and noise mitigation.

Charter Hall will be open to the public and business use “will be evaluated fairly,” said Davis. Capacity for Charter Hall is expected at 300 for seated events and 500 for standing events.

Base rental will be $125 to $150 an hour depending on the day of the week. There is a list of approved caterers for events who will have access to a prep kitchen.

Aesthetically “they’ve tried to keep with the times, said Davis. It has been renovated with flexibility in mind and is applicable “for every possible social or political event that you could have in this town,” he said.

Eight groups have already committed to use Charter Hall, said Elkin.

Some tenants are receiving classes to improve their business skills. The permitting process takes time and adds a level of complexity depending on the type of food served and equipment and storage requirements.

There have been 55 requests for applications out of 100 inquiries with 22 having successfully passed the screening process. “Out of the 22 some will drop out naturally,” said Davis. “They may not want to compete with other vendors or they might pass for other business reasons.”

Four of the previous market vendors are in the permitting process. Other vendors have contracted elsewhere. The Market Building will have solid well-vetted tenants that “meet the same requirements as their other buildings,” said Davis.

In 30 to 45 days, as the permitting process wraps up, the names of the tenants will be announced. The food vendors that have either not operated a restaurant before or not operated in a professional environment will take longer for Health Department approval.

Davis said they have proven the skeptics wrong that said they would not be able to lease the spaces. “Just the opposite has occurred,” he said.