That, friends, is spectacular.
But, if that's so, how do we reconcile the data (number 1!) with this news?
Downtown Blacksburg vacancy rate called 'shocking'Interestingly, the first recommendation this consulting team made to turn things around for the downtown area is for the Blacksburg town council to provide tax breaks as an incentive to drive economic growth. Where have you heard that before?
A consultant team said the leasable-space vacancy rate is three times that of a healthy downtown.
By Tonia Moxley, The Roanoke Times
The vacancy rate for commercial buildings in downtown Blacksburg is shocking, or so two consultants told the town council Tuesday night.
Keith Covington of Third Coast design studio and Philip Walker of The Walker Collaborative -- both based in Nashville, Tenn. -- were hired to conduct a study of downtown Blacksburg zoning and development issues. They found a 17 percent vacancy rate in leasable commercial space in the town's core. Walker told the council that 5 percent is normal in a healthy downtown. (link)
Back to the point, how can Blacksburg have a "shocking" vacancy rate and yet the Blacksburg-Christiansburg MSA be number one in the country (in terms of smaller cities) when it comes to high tech industry? Believe me, it isn't downtown Christiansburg that's shouldering the weight here.
Anyone familiar with the area knows the answer. There are two towns in the town of Blacksburg. There's Blacksburg, and then there's the megalopolis of Virginia Tech and its accompanying business offshoots and ancillary endeavors.
In fact, this kind of result seems to be a trend across the commonwealth. Harrisonburg (James Madison University) is ranked 14th overall and 2nd in terms of high tech industry. Charlottesville (University of Virginia), ranked 41st overall, is ranked 5th in high tech industry.
So what does all this mean?
It means, first of all, that prosperity can be a fickle, mysterious creature. But secondly, it also means that the folks in Martinsville who have been campaigning for years to have a four-year state-supported college - hopefully with emphasis on high tech - located there, may be smarter than we thought.
So Woe be unto Blacksburg. All hail Blacksburg. Makes your head hurt, doesn't it?