Economic development surging in Vinton, Rosie’s to expand

By Debbie Adams

The good news seemingly never ends in the Town of Vinton – at least the economic development news.

At its meeting on November 17, Vinton Town Council received briefings on two new projects in the town – in addition to the expansions of Farmburguesa and The Dogwood council was briefed on previously, and the imminent opening of the Joe Goodpies restaurant at Vinyard Station.

By the end of the council meeting, Vice Mayor Sabrina McCarty commented, “This meeting has been awesome; 2020 hasn’t stopped you guys.”

Rosie’s Gaming Emporium is planning an expansion which will almost double the facility in size and add a parking garage, with an investment “into the millions” and the hiring of many more employees.

General Manager Ernie Dellaverson proudly shared “the big picture,” and some details with council during the Zoom council meeting. The project will add 18,000 square feet to the building and increase the number of gaming machines from 150 to 500.

Rosie’s in Vinton has announced expansion plans. The existing building is shown on the left with the expansion and parking garage to be added on the right. (courtesy Colonial Downs)

The proposed three-and-a-half story parking garage will include 276 parking spots with elevators to the different levels with ADA accessibility. A drop-off lane will be added along with a large open walking space.

An entertainment section will be added to the interior, with 30 bar stools and a stage for live entertainment for up to a six-member band.

A new circular bar will be added in a separate section of the building. The facility basics will be expanded and upgraded including mechanicals and restrooms.

Dellaverson said plans are for “shovels in the ground in January” with the project completed by December of 2021. The existing facility won’t shut down during the expansion project. Construction trailers will be located as unobtrusively as possible in the parking lots at the back and sides of the existing building. Temporary offices will be located across the street in the Lancerlot Sports Complex.

Councilman Keith Liles said he was very impressed with the expansion project, especially given Rosie’s short time in Vinton and the pandemic striking within a year of opening.

Councilman Mike Stovall thanked Rosie’s for “coming to town, working hard, and bringing people to Vinton.”

More good news came with the announcement by Vinton’s Principal Planner Nathan McClung that Giacomo Montuori of New York Pizza is requesting a Special Use Permit for a proposed “commercial indoor amusement use” in the vacant building to the left of the pizza restaurant at 700 Hardy Road. The award-winning Italian restaurant draws many people locally and from across the valley. The arcade will fall under its umbrella.

Many years ago, the building housed a dry-cleaning establishment. In 2016 plans were approved for a drive-thru facility that would allow the vacant building to be used for an ice cream and coffee shop. Since that previous approval of the site plan, New York Pizza now intends to incorporate a new use into the existing structure with a family-friendly arcade – defined under the Vinton Zoning Ordinance as “a commercial indoor commercial use,” which requires a Special Use Permit. The change-of-use permit is required to meet the requirements of the Virginia Uniform Statewide Building Code.

The building totals 3,200 square feet; between 1,200 and 1,700 square feet will be used for the arcade. McClung described the arcade as a “unique idea” with plans for prizes dispensed from machines.

The Vinton Planning Commission hearing on the proposal is scheduled for November 19, followed by a second public hearing at Town Council on December 1. Staff is recommending approval.

New York Pizza plans to add a family friendly arcade, along with a drive-thru ice cream and coffee shop in the vacant property next to their restaurant. (photo by Debbie Adams)

In other business, after a public hearing, council granted a Real Property Purchase Option and Property Lease to Farmyard LLC (Farmburguesa) for property located at 307 South Pollard,  located between Farmburguesa Restaurant and the Municipal Building. Council had been briefed extensively on the request in a previous meeting.

The owners of the building and Farmburguesa Restaurant at 303 South Pollard Street had expressed interest in purchasing the property to expand the restaurant with a physical building addition for cold and dry storage, as well as a semi-enclosed patio for exterior seating.

Town staff and the owners have negotiated terms for a “Real Estate Lease with Option to Purchase” that will outline the timeline and requirements of the property improvements and identify the process for transfer of ownership later on.

General Terms of the Lease include:

  • The town will provide a real estate lease agreement for one year and provides for up to four additional one-year renewals, to provide for adequate time for the owners to meet the minimum required investment and complete construction.
  • The agreement provides an Option to Purchase, to protect the property on the tenant’s behalf while site improvements are realized and prior to purchasing the property from the town.
  • The tenant will pay an annual rent of $250 for use of the property, which is equivalent to the total annual real estate tax assessment for the property.
  • The tenant will be responsible for maintaining the property and maintain adequate liability and property insurance during the term of the lease agreement, to include all site improvements.
  • An investment goal of $80,000 has been established to add an addition to the building, constructing an outdoor dining area, remodel the existing interior kitchen, install an enclosed dumpster pad with vehicle access, and complete associated landscaping.

“The support from the community and residents of Vinton is unmatched,” said Kat Pascal, one of the owners of Farmburguesa. “We share a bond with this beautiful town and want to make it a destination spot for families, travelers, and the community. We are excited to add seating and bring faster and better kitchen equipment that will cut down the wait time for our loyal customers. Expanding in the Town of Vinton is exciting, and we look forward to serving the best burgers we can.”

Council also granted a lease to The Dogwood Restaurant for town property located at 110 East Lee Avenue. The owners of the building and restaurant at 106 East Lee Avenue have expressed interest in leasing a portion of the property located at 110 East Lee Avenue for the purposes of expanding the restaurant with a patio for exterior seating. Town staff and the owners have negotiated terms for a “Lease of Real Property.”

General Terms of the Lease include:

  • The town will provide a real estate lease agreement for one year and provides for up to four additional one-year renewals.
  • The tenant will pay an annual rent of $250 for use of the property, which is equivalent to the total annual real estate tax assessment for the property.
  • The tenant will be responsible for maintaining their identified portion of the property as described within the agreement and maintain adequate liability and property insurance during the term of the lease agreement, to include all site improvements.
  • An investment goal of $20,000 has been established to construct an outdoor dining area and complete associated landscaping.

During the meeting, council recognized the town Safety Committee (Vinton Human Resources Director Donna Collins and town employees William “Bo” Herndon, Chasity Barbour, Nathan McClung, Amanda Payne, Brandon Gann, Fabricio Drumond, Andrew Critchard, Billy Robb, and Mandie Baker) for being awarded the Virginia Municipal League 2020 Local Champion Award, recognizing their efforts in “rising to meet the myriad challenges posed by the coronavirus pandemic with compassion, determination, and creativity in such a manner as to provide relief, resiliency, and inspiration to your community.”

Collins said that while the Safety Committee spearheaded the response to the pandemic, their actions were possible only due to the diligence of all town employees – truly a team effort.

Finance Director/Treasurer Anne Cantrell informed council in her Finance Report that revenues exceeded expenditures in September, leaving a total of $7 million in cash and investments for the town – “the best numbers” she has seen in any September.

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