Longtime Roanoke businessman to create 70 downtown apartments in former newspaper building


ROANOKE, Va. – Big city living is coming to downtown Roanoke, according to the developer of a major apartment project.

Macado restaurant chain owner Richard Macher plans to create 60-70 apartments in the former Roanoke Times press building.

“I love downtown Roanoke and I love the city,” Macher said.

Downtown Roanoke is special for the restaurateur who opened his first business in the neighborhood in 1978. There are now nearly two dozen locations in Virginia and North Carolina.

The building at the corner of 2nd Street and Salem Avenue is 50% glazed, Macher says, and the plan is to add even more windows to give the units an “airy and open” feel.

“It can’t just be a place to live. I want to create this atmosphere, an interesting place to live. I want to bring together the five neighborhoods – the Gainesboro neighborhood, the area towards the breweries and the old downtown,” Macher said.

Although Macher did not reveal the expected purchase price for the building, he shared that it would cost almost $1 million and at least four to six months to remove the massive German-made press before the renovations cannot begin.

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The Press Building is the provisional name of the building.

It will rise to five stories with studios, one-, two- and three-bedroom units. An atrium will expose the five floors starting from the ground floor.

Perhaps Macher is most excited about the rooftop pool and lounge.

“You’re basically going to have this big city, vibrational type of life here,” Macher said.

Macher thinks apartments are the way to go, but he’s open to ideas and says he has plenty of them.

“I’ve heard people talk about putting a skydiving simulator here. I’ve had people talk about making the Express a climbing wall. I had a few affordable groceries,” Macher explained.

Macher hopes to sign the final agreement in a few weeks, and renovations will begin almost immediately. You will probably be able to sign your lease there in 2024.

“We’re excited and I think this will really create a great location for downtown Roanoke and the city,” Macher said.

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