The Legends of Blacksburg revived
Two New River Valley developers plan to revive a long-stalled condominium project near Lane Stadium called The Legends of Blacksburg.
James Oliver said last week that he and Mark Kinser will build the Legends while keeping another stalled project called The Colosseum that they initiated on hold a couple of miles away.
Oliver said he and Kinser, whose companies are based in Radford, don’t feel conditions are right for the Colosseum – a luxury, 241-unit, $60 million condominium tower proposed in 2007 off South Main Street. However, he said they believe that The Legends – a 72-unit project at about a third the cost near campus – is buildable this year.
Oliver said investors including Virginia Tech coach Frank Beamer formed a limited liability company called Warren Street Partners LLC, which in turn bought the unpaid note on the original Legends project from its lender. The limited liability company then foreclosed, which displaced the original developer and gave the company control of The Legends site about two months ago, Oliver said.
The site is at the end of Warren Street within walking distance of multiple campus athletic facilities.
Warren Street Partners will use investor money and borrowing to underwrite construction costs, which are still being tallied, Oliver said. Nor could Oliver say what the condos will sell for.
Demolition of the old Stadium Apartments and several small homes nearby is underway and is scheduled to continue daily weather permitting, Oliver said. Construction is scheduled to start this fall, he said.
During the middle to late 2000s, developers announced three housing projects catering to the often wealthy, out-of-town visitors who pour into Blacksburg for athletic events. But only the conversion of some hotel rooms at the Prices Fork Road Holiday Inn went forward.
Now there is movement again.
The Legends will not be built as first proposed – all game-day condos. Instead, the new developers have revised the plan so that they can market the units for year-around living or short-term stays for activities such as sporting events, Oliver said.
“These are well-designed, full-functioning condominium units that you would expect to find in any major metropolitan area,” Oliver said. “We see it as a home.”
Oliver, whose company is Highlander Construction and Development, and Kinser, whose company is Unlimited Construction Inc., are emphasizing that they and the other investors now backing The Legends of Blacksburg are a different group from and not associated with the people who first proposed the project, Oliver said.
What stalled the first effort had nothing to do with the strength of the concept for The Legends, either, he said.
The first group, which included University of Arizona football coach Rich Rodriguez “ran into a bunch of internal matters between themselves and them and their bank that caused them to put the brakes on the project,” Oliver said. “The real issues were internal problems with the old development, not with the product or the marketing.”
There was litigation and allegations of criminal misconduct. It’s unclear whether, or how, those issues have played out.
Prior reservation holders who had put down 10 percent of a unit purchase price were given refunds, Oliver said. Reservations are again being taken and Oliver knew of 10 as of about a week ago. Beamer has one and will help market the project, Oliver said.
The Roanoke Times | 381-1661