Dear Eddie: What will the new $25 million Urban Exchange mixed-use construction project mean for downtown?
EB: One of Harrisonburg Downtown Renaissance’s highest priorities is to promote the creation of additional downtown residential options, particularly downtown housing. Just in the last two years more than 50 units have been added, primarily through the renovation of historic buildings and conversion of the upper floors above retail businesses. According to Virginia Main Street data, each new resident spends between $7,500 and $14,000 annually in their downtown neighborhood. The impact of the Urban Exchange project will be huge, with 190 upscale residential units housing approximately 400 people. Not only will this project bring significant additional business to the existing businesses in downtown, but add 12,000 square feet of on-site retail space. Demolition has begun and the project is scheduled for completion in 2009.