Virginia Developer Is on a Mission to Revive His Town

NY Times excerpt

Mr. Walker, 44, a former outsider-art dealer and a third-generation lawyer from a prominent local family, has emerged as a commercial developer with an unusual civic conscience. In less than a decade, he has bought more than a dozen disused historic buildings, renovated them and enticed people to live in them.


Thanks to Mr. Walker and other developers who followed suit, Roanoke’s downtown has a livelier pulse, with nearly 1,200 residents this year, where once there were fewer than 10. Mr. Walker has made his spaces welcoming, handpicking chefs for restaurants and furnishing a pocket park with his children’s swing sets. Coming attractions include a rock climbing gym.

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