Did you know that the City of Roanoke, Roanoke County, and the City of Salem are jointly developing a new technology park? Wood Haven Technology Park is a 110-acre, planned technology park near the intersection of I-81 and I-581 in Roanoke County. The park is being developed by the three municipalities through the Western Virginia Regional Industrial Facilities Authority (WVRIFA), which Botetourt County, Franklin County, Roanoke County, the City of Roanoke, the City of Salem, and the Town of Vinton formed in 2014. The purpose of the Authority is to provide a mechanism for localities to cooperate regionally on economic development projects. The Authority works closely with the Roanoke Regional Partnership and the Roanoke Valley-Alleghany Planning Commission.
Several years ago, in response to a recognized lack of large “development-ready” tracts of land in the region, the Roanoke Regional Partnership undertook an extensive inventory of properties throughout the region. This inventory and its associated assessment resulted in the selection of a site near the intersections of I-81 and I-581 and the Roanoke-Blacksburg Regional Airport. The WVRIFA and three of its associated municipalities issued debt to acquire the property and begin prepping it for development. Preparatory work has included securing proper zoning, clearing of the property, grading of the property, and installation of streets and utilities. A short video with details of the project can be seen here.
The Wood Haven Technology Park primarily caters to high-technology manufacturing uses, with supporting uses such as office and limited commercial activities. The site will include controlled setting of buildings and access points, with large areas of landscaped buffers and scenic view easements. The first phase of the project includes a graded pad on a 50-plus-acre tract with access and utilities. The initial grading for this first phase, which included significant rock removal is nearing completion, the entrance to the park is complete, and most utilities have been extended.
Woodhaven Technology Park offers a great opportunity for local economic development to continue to expand, creating new jobs and new activity. Woodhaven also illustrates the rewards of municipalities in the region coming together to address needs and seize upon opportunities. This is the latest in a number of regional efforts, which include the Roanoke Regional Partnership, the Roanoke Valley-Alleghany Planning Commission, the Roanoke-Blacksburg Regional Airport, the Western Virginia Broadband Authority, the Western Virginia Water Authority, and so many more. When we come together as a region, great things happen!
-- Bob Cowell