BLACKSBURG — Crews on Wednesday morning were busy moving dirt on a plot of land adjacent to the Virginia Tech Corporate Research Center, a growing business park that includes science and technology companies.
The latest work just off the 1900 block of Research Center Drive will lead to one of the town’s largest apartment complex, which will contain three, four-story buildings. Called The Vue, the development is slated to provide up to 207 units, each of which ranging from one to three bedrooms.
The project’s start was celebrated during a ground-breaking event Wednesday attended by local business and government figures, several of whom cited the growth of the CRC and Virginia Tech as a key driving factor.
“As we all know, Blacksburg faces many housing challenges,” said town Councilman and Vice Mayor Michael Sutphin. “Virginia Tech’s growth is bringing not just undergraduate students, but also graduate students, young faculty members, visiting scholars and support staff, all who need a place to live.”
Sutphin also noted the CRC’s expansion, which he said will increase local housing needs.
The CRC contains more than 200 companies spread across 36 buildings on 230 acres. The park’s website states that an expansion on the northwest side of the property will provide enough land for another 15 buildings.
Among the CRC’s tenants are information technology services provider the 1901 Group and blockchain company Block.one.
Joann Craig, the chief financial officer for Blacksburg-based SAS Builders, pointed to the 1901 Group and Torc Robotics as examples of companies that will bring more people to town.
“They’re growing fast,” she said.
SAS Builders is headed by long-time developer Jeanne Stosser, who is behind numerous prominent projects across the New River Valley. The company is developing the site with Branch Construction, which has an office in Roanoke.
CMG Leasing Inc., a firm affiliated with SAS, will manage the new apartments. The Vue is slated for a mid-2022 opening, Craig said.
The Vue will also be part of a greater collection of complexes that SAS has built near the CRC.
One of those developments is the Reserve, a now 7-year-old property just across the road from the Vue’s site. Another is Cedar Pointe, which is slated to open in January.
Craig couldn’t provide expected rent prices on SAS’s latest apartment project. Among the units’ features will be granite countertops and hard-surface flooring in the common areas, he said.
The community will be connected to nearby trails and provide tenants a view of the natural area, two factors that Craig said were prioritized.
The mountains, for example, can be seen from the property.
“Your big thing here is you get a beautiful view,” Craig said.
While The Vue will not be exclusive to employees who work at the CRC, the business park and other nearby employers are expected to furnish tenants .
The 1901 Group, Block.one and Torc, among other firms, have experienced rapid growth in recent years.
The 1901 Group is headquartered in Northern Virginia, but last year broke ground on a 45,000-square-foot building at the CRC. The company expects local employment to grow to between 600 and 700 people within the next few years.
Torc is based in the Blacksburg Industrial Park, situated opposite the CRC on the other side of South Main Street. The company, which recently completed an expansion of its headquarters, is a developer of self-driving vehicle systems.
Torc earlier this year announced plans to establish another presence in Blacksburg at the CRC.