If you’ve been around Blacksburg for any length of time, you’ve almost certainly noticed the old National Bank of Blacksburg building – on the corner of N. Main and Roanoke Street – standing proudly but looking rather weathered and beaten up. The building was an earlier home to the National Bank of Blacksburg, and in recent years had been passed around from owner to owner while sitting vacant and, quite honestly, falling apart.
The story is muddled, of course, but here’s a synopsis.
Earlier this month, it was finally auctioned off (along with two adjacent storefronts), and the highest bidder at the auction – Steve Hill – is a real estate developer well-known to folks in and around Blacksburg.
From a professional standpoint, I was interested in the auction because of the location of the building. It is a centerpiece of the downtown core, and has sat vacant for FAR too long. And I wasn’t alone – there were probably 100 other folks there, most of watching and afraid to move in fear of bidding for a property we couldn’t buy!
From a personal standpoint, I was even more interested because I was the agent who had the building the property listed in 2005, and I had watched it for nearly 10 years continue to fall into disarray. I knew what had been planned for the building and it was sad to see it not come to fruition, but I was excited about the possibilities for the future, as well.
I tried livetweeting the auction, which was interesting – head down, thumbs furiously typing, I wasn’t real sure who was bidding what, but I tried to capture most of it.
In my opinion, Steve is a great person to head a redevelopment project like this. I know that lots of folks what all sorts of things for a site like this, but none of us know what will actually come to pass. From my interactions with him, however, I know that Steve knows and loves Blacksburg, and I have every confidence he’ll do something really nice with that spot.
Congratulations, Steve – there’s a whole Town watching!
A side note – the caption on the photo above is something my grandfather would say. He was an auctioneer – and also a rodeo clown, businessman, and quite honestly probably just a hustler – but he used to say “Going once, going twice – sold to the man with the pants on!” I had no idea what it meant – still don’t – but as a small boy I thought it was funny. So the caption is homage to Rabbit.