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!
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Sentara RMH has applied for a rezoning of their 238.61 acre campus from B-1C (General Business District with Conditions) to PMR (Planned Medical and Research).
In a nutshell, the original rezoning of the hospital campus took it from A-2 (agricultural) to B-1C, which was the most appropriate zoning at the time. Since that time, the County has adopted a revised zoning ordinance that includes this new "Planned Medical and Research" classification. This new zoning district (PMR) is "designed to provide flexibility for large-scale medical facilities and to promote the mixture of uses and increase density of development."
So -- nothing to wild or crazy with the rezoning -- seems to be appropriate re-alignment of the zoning of the property with the current and planned future use.
The fun part (to me, I suppose) is the updated MASTER PLAN provided as a part of the rezoning request. This paints a picture of how the campus may continue to develop in future years.
As excerpted from the Feb 27, 2016 article in the Daily News Record....
A website developed by two James Madison University staff members may teach Harrisonburg residents a thing or two about their city. [...] Visitors to the site [...] might learn Liberty Street was named German Street before World War I. They might discover a tannery once stood where the Water Street parking deck now is, or that the county courthouse was less than half its size 130 years ago.Read the full DNR article here, or start explore Harrisonburg's history via the new website....
click here for a larger version of the map or here for a PDF
The map above shows where JMU college students live, in a few categories of housing....
If you are interested in purchasing an investment property in Harrisonburg, you may want to check out HarrisonburgInvestmentProperties.com -- or, feel free to drop me an email (scott@HarrisonburgHousingToday.com) and we can discuss the best opportunities for you.
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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.
click here for a slightly larger version of this map
The location of the still relatively new Sentara RMH Medical Center, the completion of Stone Spring Road (the SouthEast Connector), and zoning maps that are currently being updated have all positioned the area shown above (in color) to be the area where we will see the most commercial and residential growth over the next 5 to 10 (to 20?) years.
I used to consider this road to be bound by Boyers Road, Spotswood Trail, Cross Keys Road and Port Republic Road, but Stone Spring Road has certainly reshaped the borders relative to Boyers Road as well as Port Republic Road.
Stay tuned for lots of new growth of businesses and homes in this area.
click here to view this map as a larger image
A few questions for ya....
EAST: Most of the residential development over the past 15 to 20 years has been on the East side of Harrisonburg, in the general vicinity of the new hospital. This makes it an exciting place to live -- for some people. There are many newer developments where homes have recently been built, and there are newer commercial destinations (Stone Port, Martin's grocery store, Target, etc) all on the East side of town. But this also makes it a bit more hectic for getting around. Of note, there is also plenty of outbound traffic East of town, towards Massanutten, Elkton, Charlottesville, etc.
WEST: There hasn't been as much residential development West of Harrisonburg over the past 15 to 20 years (other than Belmont and Monte Vista Estates) and this is just fine with most people who live on the Western side of Harrisonburg. Things are a bit calmer, without as much hustle and bustle, and in some cases with more established neighborhoods. The towns of Dayton and Bridgewater end up falling into this side of town as well for many people.
I am not doing justice to all of the differences between the East side of town and the West side of town, but I believe that most people in this area are oriented towards one side of town or the other, for very specific reasons. Furthermore, most people who have spent any considerable amount of time living on one side of Harrisonburg likely wouldn't think about moving over to the other side of Harrisonburg.
Our local MLS provider just changed, and it has brought about a number of changes. One interesting change relates to the map above.
For years and years, since before I started in real estate in 2003, there were several "areas" of Rockingham County defined in our local MLS....
The aged appearance of the map above might be an indicator of how long ago this map, and these "areas" have been used as a way to divide up Rockingham County.
But.....no longer! While these areas technically still exist in our new MLS, they are now an optional field, and some new listings include them and some do not.
So, if you became accustomed to thinking about properties (or searching for properties) in one area as opposed to another, all of that must now change. If you just focus on this now-outdated system of "areas" you'll likely be missing out on some properties as we move forward.
My recommendation for moving forward is to define your search based on a zip code, a school district, or on a custom area on a map.
Stay tuned for further updates on additional changes we are seeing in our local MLS and thus our local real estate data.
Side note -- our "MLS" is the Harrisonburg-Rockingham Multiple Listing Service -- which, among other things, is the online database where all real estate listings are stored.
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.
click here for a larger version of the map or here for a PDF
Enjoy this updated map showing where JMU college students live, in a few categories of housing....
If you are interested in purchasing an investment property in Harrisonburg -- for college students, or not -- feel free to drop me an email (scott@HarrisonburgHousingToday.com) and we can discuss the best opportunities for you.
What do these street names have in common? What is their connection?
They were all names of General Robert E. Lee's horses!
A bit more of the story can be found here....
Thanks for the heads up, Mary Kaye!
You can now go back in time with Google Street View, exploring how Harrisonburg's streetscape has changed over the years. Above, you will note the changes on Grace Street.
Court Square also has a new look, with the transformation of 1 Court Square into the offices for Harrisonburg City Public Schools.
The historical Street View data goes back as far as 2008 for some areas in Harrisonburg.
How do you explore this fun historical drive through Harrisonburg? When you are in Google Street View, just click on the clock icon shown above to select a different time frame.
A new GIS service is available for Rockingham County -- bookmark it now -- http://rockingham.interactivegis.com.
Per Rockingham County....
The increase in performance and stability along with new functionality will enhance user ability to interact and navigate inside the County map, obtaining data related to specific interests at a more efficient rate.I have explored a bit, and it does seem to be an improvement over the old GIS, and it even has a mobile site!
Rockingham County GIS
A big thanks to Hamilton for pointing out that the new version of Google Maps now allows you to explore Harrisonburg in 3D....zooming, tilting, panning, and more.
When you go to Google Maps on your browser make sure you are using the new Google Maps, it will probably let you know if you are using the old one. You might need a Gmail or Google Account to use it right now.
Once you are on the new Google Maps click on the aerial view in the bottom left corner, called Earth view in the new Google Maps.
Then zoom in over Harrisonburg and click on the tilt view button in the bottom right corner above the zoom buttons.
The 3D mode uses more data so it can run slowly, but it offers a very intriguing way to explore Harrisonburg.
Explore SaveOurBridges.com to see how many unsafe bridges are in your area. This web site uses Google Maps and data from the Federal Highway Administration's National Bridge Inventory to show where all the country's "structurally deficient" and "fracture critical" bridges are located.
From the data on this web site, Augusta County has quite a few more unsafe bridges than we have here in Rockingham County.
Thanks to Jim Duncan for pointing out OpenSignal as a resource for checking cell coverage....
The heat map above shows the strength of cell coverage in Harrisonburg and Rockingham County. The map as shown shouldn't be too surprising, as it mirrors main roadways and dense residential areas.
Here's how the cell carriers stack up in this area, with Verizon Wireless being the clear winner....
You may have driven by this new complex (corner of Port Republic Road and Neff Avenue) but have you seen the full scope of it?
I had driven by University Park countless times, but until my son participated in a soccer camp earlier this month with Shenandaoh Valley United, I had never seen the facility in person.
This is an amazing multi-field complex, offering both grass and FieldTurf practice field as well as a finely-manicured game-playing surface of natural grass. JMU Women's Lacrosse, Women's Soccer, Men's Soccer and Women's Cross Country/Track & Field programs compete at this location.
Click here for a map of the complex.
Google Maps now offers imagery of the Harrisonburg area from a 45 degree perspective, as shown above. Compare the image above (45 degree perspective) to the same area below (aerial view)....
As you can see, this 45 degree perspective provides a much more interesting view.
To view this imagery, just keep zooming in on a Google Map until you get to a zoom level where Google automatically flips you over to the 45 degree perspective instead of the aerial perspective. You can also adjust this setting in the upper right corner of the map....
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