Friday, May 14, 2010

Garland Makes Pitch for Market Vendors

John Garland (right) helps with a presentation of his building.^

Valerie Garner at the online Roanoke Free Press reports that my pal John Garland has made an official presentation to Roanoke City Market restaurant owners and boutique owners, trying to lure them into his former Downtown Sports Club building on Church Ave. (Her report is here and that's her photo above).

John (who owns Spectrum Design, the firm whose excellent design for the Market Building was inexplicably rejected by City Council in what I consider a serious error) and I talked about his upcoming presentation last week and he's pretty excited about the prospects.

The vendors must be out of the City Market building--maybe for as long as two years--in September and most don't know where they're going. John's building would be a marvelous alternative, since it's only a couple of blocks away and it would give John a place to eat on a near-daily basis. He is a regular at the City Market Building's lunch counters.

The building under renovation is a former cafeteria, so it is not a stretch that it could be the new lunch center for Roanoke, and, frankly, it would move diners out of the din of activity that will be the City Market for many months hence, since Center in the Square will be undergoing a $27 million renovation across the street from the City Market Building.

I'm hoping the vendors jump on this opportunity, both for their benefit and for John's. John and his sons Aaron and Mark have gone whole-hog into the renovation business (usually with partners) and they have been nearly as responsible for some significant "saves" as has Ed Walker with his more spectacular large-building renovations.

One more little item here: You're going to find Valerie Garner's prose a little rough if you read her story over on Roanoke Free Press, but Val's not a trained writer. She's a smart, connected and observant watcher of all things in the city and she regularly scoops everybody else covering Roanoke with her insider reports. I admire her grit, tenacity and energy. She could use an editor, but, hell, so could we all.

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