Welcome! This blog tracks the real estate market in the Central Shenandoah Valley, featuring market data and analysis, an exploration of common buying and selling questions, and candid commentary on all things real estate.
If you are interested in discussing any of the topics on this blog, or the details of your specific real estate situation, call or e-mail me!
As shown above, the population of the City of Harrisonburg has increased by 11% over the past six years to it's current (estimated) level of 54,224. A few other fast facts from today's Daily News Record article....
Read the full Daily News Record article for much more context and insightful commentary.
The forthcoming hotel and conference center being built on the edge of the JMU campus, held its ceremonial groundbreaking yesterday. The project is due to be complete by March 2018.
Read more in today's Daily News Record article, or read on for some highlights....
In local economic development news, the MillerCoors brewery in Elkton, Virginia has announced a $60 million expansion! This investment by Miller Coors will allow for the installation of new infrastructure to brew more beer brands and will result in 27 new jobs.
Some fast facts about the Shenandoah Valley MillerCoors brewery....
The local unemployment rate dropped quickly, drastically, sharply in April 2016. Waaaaay down to 3.2% -- which is the lowest rate on record in the past six years -- by far.
Read some commentary on this news via last week's Daily News Record article, excerpted below.
Unemployment in the Harrisonburg metropolitan area hit an eight year low in April, according to data released Wednesday by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Per today's Daily News Record, Merck has announced a $168 million investment in its Elkton facility for upgrades that will take place over the next few years....
"The Kenilworth, N.J.-based pharmaceutical business has been operating in the Valley since 1941, according to the release, and the Elkton plant works to produce a variety of vaccines in bulk. The improvements will upgrade that system.Read the entire article here: Merck Plans $168M Upgrade
Looking back through the Daily News Record archives, the most recent major improvement I can find record of is a $57M announcement in 2006, followed by a $193M announcement in 2007.
Read the 2007 article here: Merck Adding 70 New Jobs
Merck is one of the largest employers in Rockingham County, so this is a welcome news announcement!
A recently completed housing study prepared for the Harrisonburg Housing and Redevelopment Authority had a helpful and informative snapshot of recent economic development announcements.....
Do you know of any additional recent economic development announcement? Are any of those on the list above now inaccurate or out of date?
After peaking in 2010 at 270 completed foreclosure sales in Harrisonburg and Rockingham County, we have seen declines in nearly every year since then -- down to a total of only 163 foreclosure sales last year -- and a projected 154 this year.
This decline in the number of foreclosed homes (and thus decline in the number of sales of banked owned homes, potentially at lower-than-market-value) is helping to continue to stabilize our local real estate market -- and it means fewer people are losing their homes due to their inability to make their mortgage payments.
Good news on both fronts!
Click here to download a high resolution version of this map, and a few others as well!
The Board of Supervisors will hold a public hearing today at 7:00 PM to receive input on expanding the its "Urban Development Area" to include the additional land shown on the maps above.
This potential expansion would triple the size of the current UDA, which was established in 2011 just after Sentara RMH Medical Center opened. From the staff report to the Board of Supervisors....
"Since 2011, commercial and residential development activity has increased and Stone Spring Road has been completed. [...] Interest in the development of commercially zoned land in this same area is expected to increase as a result of the relocation and completion of Stone Spring Road and the construction of Albert Long Park."Why should this area be expanded, you might ask? Per today's DNR article...
"According to county officials, an expanded UDA would put Rockingham County in a better position to compete for state money under the new prioritization process for transportation funding adopted by the General Assembly in 2014."Click here to read today's Daily News Record article on the topic.
Click here to download an excerpt from the Board of Supervisor's packet.
click here to view a larger version
This (above) is a nice view of the intended building layout in the quadrant bounded by Main Street, Martin Luther King, Jr. Way, Mason Street and Grace Street.
The Mason Street Parking Deck is currently in the early (very early) stages of construction. Madison Hall exists, but will be renovated. Hotel Madison is yet to be started.
Get ready for some significant shifts in the locations considered by new businesses coming to Harrisonburg -- thanks for the upcoming completion of the SouthEast Connector Road.
Read more about its potential impact on our local commercial real estate market over at Tim Reamers' blog....
1,124 Words About Asphalt by Tim ReamerOr, find out more about Stoneport, the new mixed used development on the SouthEast Connector Road....
A 4.2 Acre, $5.5 Million Park is planned for downtown Harrisonburg, the potential layout of which is shown above. Click any of the images above/below for a larger/clearer version.
Read more about the park and its status in last week's Daily News Record article, an excerpt of which follows....
"It [the park] would include a ship-themed children's play area, a "great lawn" that would host events and performances, and a broad tree-lined promenade arching from South Liberty Street south of the Turner Pavilion to Bruce Street at Blacks Run."
Connect with the group behind this effort, Plan Our Park, via Facebook.
Have you heard about bluehub coworking, opening up in downtown Harrisonburg?
As they describe themselves....
We are a community of entrepreneurs, creators, innovators, designers, writers, digital nomads, remote workers, and freelancers. We welcome anyone who seeks an inspiring downtown location to work that exudes a spirit of collaboration and keeps an eye on the greater good.Features of this new space include:
We are strategically located across from the Ice House, home to the Small Business Development Center, JMU's Center for Entrepreneurship, Shenandoah Valley Partnership, and Shenandoah Valley Technology Council. This corner of downtown has ample parking and is booming with new businesses including yoga & pilates, restaurants, coffee shops and Pale Fire Brewery.
When/Where: Monday, 6PM - 9PM, Court Square Theater and Capital Ale House
From the Daily News Record....
A contest among local entrepreneurs with ideas for foodrelated businesses comes to a close Monday night.Read it all here.
P.S. Yes, slightly off the real estate topic. :) Though related to economic development, for sure. :) Probably interesting to me because of my involvement with TakeThemAMeal.com. But I do hope you'll support this fun community event....
Now Open - in Downtown Harrisonburg - HATCH3D
The Shenandoah Valley's Source for 3D Printing Technologies
From the HDR blog....
"3D printing is revolutionizing industries, from education and medicine to military training. It's a game changing technology so we couldn't be more excited to have a company downtown that specializes in this unique field. Hatch3D is a brand new 3D printing, scanning, and design business located on West Market St. in the Wetsel Seed Building. "Read more on the Harrisonburg Downtown Renaissance blog, or learn more....
Based on enrollment projections approved by the State Council of High Education for Virginia and published by JMU, on campus enrollment is set to continue to increase in coming years, surpassing 20K students for the first time in the 2017-18 academic year.
Of the variety of different figures that exist within the enrollment projections, the "Total On-Campus Headcount" is typically seen as the most pertinent relative to our local housing market. This figure is the best reflection of the number of students who will need housing, either on JMU campus, or off campus. These figures, and their changes over time, are the best numbers to be using when analyzing the need for off campus student housing in Harrisonburg.
Read more about student housing in Harrisonburg, past, present and future here.
If your zip code is 22801 or 22801, and you live in Rockingham County (shown in yellow above) then your mailing address can be written in two different ways starting in February 2015....either as "Harrisonburg, VA 22801" or "Rockingham, VA 22801", and it's all about taxes....
From today's Daily News Record article....
Starting in February, the U.S. Postal Service will begin updating its database so the two ZIP codes will have a default mailing address of Harrisonburg, VA, and an "alternate preferred" address of Rockingham, VA.Read the rest of the article here.
Today -- December 12th -- 5PM until 10PM -- Downtown Harrisonburg
Shop Local for the holidays! You will enjoy extended store hours, special promotions and events, art and live music, holiday treats, and plenty of festive cheer!
Special promotions this evening include....
Midtowne Bottle Shop | Open til 11pm
The Lady Jane | Open til 10pm
Ten Thousand Villages | 10am-10pm
Walkabout Outfitter | 10am - 10pm
Downtown Wine & Gourmet
OASIS Fine Art & Craft | Open til 10pm
City Council approved a deal for the City of Harrisonburg to enter into a partnership with JMU, the JMU Foundation and a private developer to construct a hotel and conference center
A few items to note, from today's Daily News Record article....
"The plans call for a 205-room hotel, to be dubbed Hotel Madison, and a connected conference center to be built on university-owned land bounded by South Main, Mason and Grace streets, and Martin Luther King, Jr. Way.As such, my understanding is that the City isn't really "funding" this development.
From a taxpayer's perspective, is this good or bad? I think it depends on what you believe would happen with the land if the deal did not come together. If the property is not developed, then there wouldn't be any tax revenue that the City is "missing out on" by giving those tax revenues to the JMU Foundation.
Many of those in support of this deal (which has now been approved) believe that the hotel and conference center will generate other economic activity for Harrisonburg, and thus it is good thing that this deal is happening. I tend to agree -- it's hard to imagine people coming in to stay at a hotel to attend a conference and not spending any other money in the City.
Many of those opposed to this deal (which has now been approved) seem to believe that the City is using taxpayer dollars to pay for this project. Technically, this is true, as future tax revenues generated by the project will be essentially retroactively applied to the cost of the project. But as explained above, those tax revenues would not have been there without the complex being built in the first place.
Read the full Daily News Record article here.
Here's a brief history of this project....
A public hearing has been set for October 14th at 7pm at which time details for the proposed Hotel Conference Center will be presented to Harrisonburg City Council and the general public.
WHEN: Tuesday, October 14 at 7:00pm
WHERE: Harrisonburg City Council Chambers
Further details (Oct 8 update) include....
Here's a brief history of this project....
The Harrisonburg and Rockingham County area should see plenty of new jobs over the next few years, according to a presentation by Brian Shull (Harrisonburg's Economic Development Director) and Dennis Burnett (Executive Director of the Shenandoah Valley Partnership).
Read all about it in this Daily News Record article that was a follow up to Brian and Dennis' presentation to earlier this week. An excerpt follows....
The health care and social assistance sector is poised to add about 700 jobs through 2016, Brian Shull, the city's economic development director, told members of the Rotary Club of Harrisonburg at their Monday meeting.
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