By Debbie Adams
The Joe Goodpies restaurant at Vinyard Station (that’s pizza pies, not dessert pies) is now anticipating a mid-to-late January opening. Owner Jack Winston says the upscale restaurant will offer a selection of at least 20 different pizzas baked in the eatery’s 10,000-pound brick oven, along with specialty salads, fresh burgers, wings, and more. Winston is also the owner of Jersey Lily’s Roadhouse Grill on Orange Avenue and Jersey Lily’s in Salem.
Vinyard Station is located at the corner of Pollard Street and Washington Avenue in downtown Vinton. The redevelopment project has been of intense interest to passing motorists who have watched its progress over the past year.
Developer Dale Wilkinson of the Wilkinson Group says half of the front space of Vinyard Station on Pollard Street has been leased along with half of what was the Parts Department of the old Vinton Motors.
Joe Goodpies occupies the section of the building nearest to the parking lot – about one-third of the available interior space.
Wilkinson and General Contractor Greg Rhodes of Construction Unlimited Inc. say work on the project has moved along steadily despite the COVID-19 pandemic.
Glass windows have recently been installed on the front of the building facing Pollard Street, allowing a view of the exposed beams with the beautiful ceiling of bowstring trusses being preserved.
Town Manager Pete Peters says that the town is anticipating a ribbon-cutting for the entire complex in late winter to early spring when the remainder of the building will be further along in construction so that the entire space will be open for touring.
Vinton Town Council, the Roanoke County Board of Supervisors, the Roanoke County Economic Development Authority, and the development team of Dale Wilkinson, Greg Rhodes, David Spigel and Virginia Vinyard, who have all partnered in the project, will be invited guests.
By waiting until a little later, Peters hopes COVID-19 restrictions will have been eased so that more people can gather for a ceremony, especially one so significant to the Town of Vinton.
A walkway featuring the Town Seal has been installed linking the Vinyard Station parking lot to Lee Avenue. The parking lot has been repaved with curbs, lighting, and sidewalks, and landscaping installed.
Wilkinson says Peters first approached him with the vision of moving Vinton forward with the Gateway project in the former Vinton Motors building.
Town Council adopted two resolutions on November 19, 2019 to finalize plans for the redevelopment of the facility into a mixed-use commercial and retail business complex.
Council adopted a resolution authorizing then Town Manager Barry Thompson to execute a Performance Agreement with Vinyard Station LLC and the Roanoke County Economic Development Authority (EDA) for the purpose of investing in public infrastructure and incentivizing the redevelopment of the property.
Council also adopted a resolution authorizing Thompson to execute a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the town and Roanoke County for financial support from the county for the Vinyard Station Redevelopment Project.
The Performance Agreement is valued at up to $750,000 over a 10-year period. In addition to building improvements, a primary function of the Performance Incentive was to establish and partially fund the addition of centralized parking infrastructure for the downtown business district – supporting both Vinyard Station and other existing businesses.
Under the agreement the town appropriated to the EDA an initial cash payment of $250,000 towards the purchase of eight vacant parcels for the purpose of establishing parking and pedestrian access to the site. The town also agreed to an additional payment of $50,000 annually for a period of 10 years for the balance of the Incentive Grant.
The Performance Agreement contains protections which will relieve the town from the funding commitment if the project does not materialize, does not meet investment goals, or is sold before the end of the agreement.
In the MOU, the county agreed to offset costs to the town by reimbursing the town for a portion of the Incentive Grant in the amount of $200,000 to be paid in annual installments of $40,000 over a five-year period, based on the net revenue the county expects to generate as a result of the redevelopment project.
The town requested financial assistance from the county in September 2019. The Board of Supervisors approved the MOU unanimously. The MOU takes effect on January 1, 2021.
Vinyard Station will generate new and increased revenue for the Town of Vinton through collection of prepared food and beverage, sales, personal property, business license, and real estate taxes.
The business complex will generate revenue for Roanoke County through sales, personal property, and real estate taxes. In total, the project is expected to generate over $130,000 annually in combined increased tax revenues for the town and county. This figure is based on just the secured restaurant tenant.
Total private investment for the purchase and renovation of Vinyard Station is estimated at $2.7 million, creating nearly 12,000 square feet of move-in-ready leasable space. It will serve as a cornerstone of the downtown area and preserve the iconic Vinton Motors landmark.
Vinton Motor Company served the automotive needs of the Roanoke Valley for over 77 years.
In 1931, during the height of the Great Depression, Bill Vinyard left his family farm to build his own business: the Vinton Motors Company. Originally on the northwest corner of Pollard Street and Washington Avenue, Vinton Motors became a cornerstone of the Vinton community. Fourteen years later, Vinyard moved his dealership across the street to its now iconic location.
In 1979, Billy Vinyard Jr. took over his family’s business. Vinton Motors continued its success, selling up to 300 cars per year and earning Ford’s prestigious Blue Oval Status.
In 2008, during the height of the automotive industry crisis, Vinton Motors had to shut its doors and stood vacant for several years.
The Town of Vinton collaborated with the Vinyard family and the Wilkinson Group to bring new life into the classic structure with the Vinyard Station project. Unfortunately, Billy Vinyard passed away in September 2019 before renovations began.
Joe Goodpies is now hiring and training up to 45 employees. Winston says hours of operation will be normal restaurant hours from about 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. on weekdays and until 11 p.m. on weekends.