Roanoke’s Center in the Square gets a facelift.
center in the square
The year was 1983. MTV was still considered revolutionary. The new Broadway hit “La Cage aux Folles” won six Tony Awards. Artist Andy Warhol was in a slump. And Center in the Square opened in Roanoke.
In the ensuing years, more than 9 million visitors passed through the epicenter of the Roanoke Valley’s cultural hub, spawning more than 350 restaurants, shops and other businesses and bringing an estimated annual economic impact of $15-19 million to the area. No wonder the old belle was tired.
In May, a $27 million, 19-month-long facelift will unveil not only a prettier (with rooftop gardens, an observation deck and a koi pond), but bigger (200,000 square feet) and taller (seven stories) Center in the Square, with solar panels and water reclamation system, a 6,000-gallon living coral reef, a butterfly garden and two 500-gallon aquariums in the atrium.
Thirty years on, the jewel of downtown Roanoke is set to shine again. Wish we could say the same for MTV. CenterInTheSquare.org