The Virginia Municipal League (VML) announced the winners of its annual awards for excellence in local government. The statewide competition recognizes innovative problem-solving, excellence in management, citizen participation, and improved services to citizens.
The judges selected one winner in each of seven categories. The Virginia Municipal League selected the City of Roanoke's Fire Station One revitalization project as for a 2023 Innovation Award for economic development!
Historic Fire Station One was the first ever built in the City of Roanoke, making its debut in 1907 with a set of horse drawn wagons. It evolved over the decades until modern demands outpaced its ability to provide sufficient care. In 2007, the building was decommissioned, and the Georgian Revival structure sat vacant for many years. In 2018, after a lengthy RFP process, the city responded to the most competitive proposal it had received. Hill Studio and Old School Partners proposed a private-sector solution to re-purpose and restore the building with the intention of making it a vibrant anchor at the south end of the City Market. After a two-year due diligence period, the new owners closed on the property for $100 with a requirement to spend at least $2 million in renovations. The team created a solution to pay homage to the past while providing full access for public use. On September 23, 2022, the City celebrated the grand reopening of Historic Fire Station One. The first floor contains the flagship retail gallery of Roanoke-based furniture manufacturer Txtur. Upstairs was converted to a seven-room boutique hotel. An event space is situated amid the guestrooms. The station is complete with Stock Café and Bar, a 40-seat restaurant offering indoor-outdoor dining with handcrafted elements throughout. After 100 years of service and 15 years of vacancy, this cherished landmark is again teeming with life.