By Brian Wishneff
As a former Roanoke economic development director, I am aware that the city used to conduct an annual census of downtown workers. I left the city’s employment in 1995; my memory is there were around 20,000 people then employed downtown. Today, according to the economic development department, around 11,000 people work downtown.
Many former commercial buildings have been converted to residential use, but it takes a large number of residents to support retail. Probably 10 times the current number.
Wishneff is a former Roanoke councilman and president of Brian Wishneff & Associates.