The Bridges Development Signs First Corporate Tenant

JDSUThe $100 million Bridges re-development project in Downtown Roanoke has signed its first corporate tenant. Technology company JDSU will occupy the Trolley Barn building at 323 Walnut Ave. says real estate firm Cushman & Wakefield | Thalhimer.

The space is scheduled for a full overhaul that will include an open floor plan, large laboratory space and will feature modern glass enclosures. The company is set to move into the new space when it is completed in December 2014.

 Below is the full press release:

A global technology company with a significant local presence will be the first corporate tenant at The Bridges, a $100 million project that is transforming a long-vacant stretch along South Jefferson Street into new apartments, offices and retail.

The product development site for JDSU, which develops network and service enablement solutions for network equipment manufacturers, communications service providers and enterprises, has signed an agreement to move into the Trolley Barn. The historic building, located at 323 Walnut Ave., within the new National Roanoke River & Railroad Historic District, will be renovated and preserved to meet JDSU’s requirements.

JDSU’s site is currently located at Valleypark Drive in Roanoke County near the airport. Once the Trolley Barn is ready next year, approximately 75 employees will be located there. JDSU will move into a 24,643-square-foot building featuring an open, creative floor plan in a building that once housed streetcar trolleys.

“When we broke ground on The Bridges just over a year ago, we envisioned a vibrant community where people can live, work and play in a revitalized part of downtown while preserving Roanoke’s rich history,” said Jason Vickers-Smith, owner of WVS Companies Inc., the project’s developer. “In addition to the apartments moving toward completion we now have a world-class tenant in JDSU that sees the potential of the project – both for their own future in Roanoke and for their employees, who will have access to greenways, the river and upcoming options such as a restaurant and coffee shop.”

“We are excited to be part of the Trolley Barn historic renovation and the Bridges downtown revitalization project,” said Bob Dierk, JDSU’s site manager. “We have a history of more than 20 years in the Roanoke Valley, including Salem, so it’s quite appropriate to be adding to our heritage in a historic district.”

“This is a great example of how a visionary project like the Bridges can preserve and grow jobs in the Roanoke Valley,” added Roanoke Mayor David Bowers. “We’re delighted to welcome JDSU to our expanded downtown and thank them for sharing the vision we have – that The Bridges will be crucial to connecting downtown to the Roanoke River as part of the city’s largest development project.”

The deal was brokered by Cushman & Wakefield | Thalhimer, exclusive leasing representative for The Bridges. “Companies today are looking for space that is both functional and unique,” said John Nielsen, first vice president and managing broker of the commercial real estate firm’s Roanoke office. “This is the largest new office lease signed in the downtown Roanoke area since March 2008. It shows the improving health of the commercial real estate market as well as driving the continued growth of The Bridges into a vibrant project and demonstrating the growing opportunity for new development in Roanoke.”

JDSU’s local employees work primarily in software and hardware engineering and product management. JDSU is headquartered in Milpitas, Calif., and serves customers around the world.

In addition to a 157-unit apartment complex, South16, along South Jefferson Street, the first phase of The Bridges also includes a restaurant/coffee house, office space, public promenade along the river, kayak launch, sidewalks and streetscapes. For more information, please visit

Nano-Brewery Big Lick Brewing Co. Opening in Roanoke

Big Lick Brewing LocationA new craft brewery is getting set to open in downtown Roanoke, adding to the rapidly growing local beer options in the Roanoke Region. 

The new Big Lick Brewing Company may be Brian Summerson’s first foray into commercial brewing, but he knows something about the art of creating craft beer. Summerson is the former president of the Star City Brewers Guild, a group of region homebrewers and the only club officially recognized by the American Homebrewers Association. He is not only the president, he is also a member, winning the guild’s brewer of the year award four times. 

With such success, he decided it was time to start selling his award winning beer, instead of giving it away. Summerson began renovations on a storefront at 135 Salem Ave., and is in the process of putting together the finishing touches. Along with interior renovations that include the creation of a custom bar, a loading dock on the back of the location was demolished to make way for patio seating. Summerson is also using materials found during the demolition, such as railroad and trolley tracks, as parts of the renovated interior, giving the space a rustic look.

The tasting room will seat about 50 people, who will be able to fill a growler or have a pint on premises. As of now, Summerson says he has no plans to mass-produce, bottle, or distribute his beers, so the tasting room will be the only place to sample the four beers currently being brewed. 

While there is no definite opening date – Summerson is awaiting license approval from state and local entities – Big Lick will most likely be open later in the summer, possibly as soon as July. In the meantime, Big Lick has a website, and a Facebook page with regular updates on the progress of the brewery.  

When it opens, Big Lick will become the eighth brewery operating in the immediate Roanoke Region, joining Roanoke Railhouse Brewery, Parkway Brewing Company, Sunken City Brewing Company, Chaos Mountain Brewing, Flying Mouse Brewery, Soaring Ridge Craft Brewers, and Callaway Brewing Company. Six additional craft breweries operate within an hour’s drive: Bull & Bones, River Company Brewery, Jefferson Street Brewery, Apocalypse Ale Works, Devils Backbone Outpost, and Blue Lab Brewery. 
Stay tuned for more updates on Big Lick Brewing Co.

Goodwill Launches Ultimate Upcycling Contest

Goodwill IndustriesGoodwill Industries of the Valley is all about making something from nothing. One person’s trash is another person’s treasure after all. They are putting their money where their mouth is with their Ultimate Upcycling Contest.

Reusing, repurposing, and recycling old items into new and useful goods is a great way to prevent them from ending up in a landfill while also saving money. Goodwill Industries of the Valley wants to help you make a little money back in the process. They are offering a $250 VISA gift card to the winner of their contest. Submit your creative upcycling entry by July 27th for your chance to become a finalist. Three finalist will be chosen from the field and voted on by the public. 

Goodwill will even help inspire you to create that winning project. They are hosting How-To Workshops in their stores throughout the valley. The schedule is listed below: 

Date: June 7th
Time: 10am and 11am
Location: Waynesboro Goodwill Store – 132 Lucy Lane

Date: June 14th
Time: 10am and 11am
Location: Roanoke Goodwill Store at Hunting Hills – 4335 Pheasant Ridge Road

Date: June 21st
Time: 10am and 11am
Location: Christiansburg Goodwill Store – 255 Peppers Ferry Road

Date: June 28th
Time: 10am and 11am
Location: Wytheville Goodwill Store – 195 East Commonwealth Drive

Date: July 12th
Time: 10am and 11am
Location: Forest Goodwill Store – 18366 Forest Road

Find more information on how to enter the Ultimate Upcycling Contest >>>

Optical Cable Corporation Wins Presidential Award

Optical Cable CorporationA company headquartered in the Roanoke Region earned the highest recognition any U.S. entity may receive for making a significant contribution to the expansion of U.S. exports. Optical Cable Corporation was one of 66 companies honored with the President’s “E” Award for Exports.

The award is given to organizations that have earned successive export growth, and can demonstrate an innovative international marketing plan leading to the increase. Optical Cable Corporation was presented with the “E” award by U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker at a ceremony in Washington, D.C. 

Optical Cable Corporation is a leading manufacturer of fiber optic and copper data communication cabling and connectivity solutions with headquarters in Roanoke. 

See the full press release below:

WASHINGTON, May 28, 2014 –  Last year, U.S. exports of goods and services hit an all-time record of $2.3 trillion, and American jobs supported by exports reached more than 11 million.

U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker presented Optical Cable Corporation (OCC®), , with the President’s “E” Award for Exports at a ceremony in Washington, D.C.

“Optical Cable Corporation has demonstrated a sustained commitment to export expansion. The “E” Awards Committee was very impressed with Optical Cable’s innovation in product development. The company’s customized market entry strategy was also particularly impressive. Optical Cable’s achievements have undoubtedly contributed to national export expansion efforts that support the U.S. economy and create American jobs,” said Secretary Pritzker in her congratulatory letter to the company announcing its selection as an award recipient. 

The “E” Award Program was established by Executive Order 10978 on December 5, 1961. President Kennedy revived the World War II “E” symbol of excellence to honor and provide recognition to America’s exporters.

The award is presented to organizations that have earned successive export growth, and can demonstrate an innovative international marketing plan, which led to their increase.

Today, the “E” Awards remain the highest recognition any U.S. entity may receive for making a significant contribution to the expansion of U.S. exports, and this year, a total of 66 U.S. companies were honored.

“The President’s “E” Award winners are fantastic American businesses and organizations that have played a crucial role in strengthening and growing our economy through increased U.S. exports,” said Secretary Pritzker. “By selling Made-in-America goods and services internationally, U.S. business can grow faster, hire more employees, pay higher wages, and help spread American ideas, innovation and values. Congratulations to OCC for its export achievement, which helps the nation remain competitive in the global marketplace.”

“OCC is extremely proud of this award,” Michael Newman, Vice President of International Sales and Global Marketing said. “It takes an entire team from engineers, to production employees, to both inside and outside sales associates to continually work together to support our export business. Dealing with the language, business and cultural issues of doing business internationally is sometimes a challenge, but it’s a challenge our team happily takes on to help OCC’s export business be successful.”

Founded in 1983, OCC is a leading manufacturer of fiber optic and copper data communication cabling and connectivity solutions. OCC offers an integrated suite of quality network cabling solutions designed for enterprise markets, including customized solutions for specialty uses and harsh environments.

U.S. companies are nominated for the “E” Award for Exports through the Department of Commerce’s U.S. and Foreign Commercial Service office network, located within the Department’s International Trade Administration, which has offices in 108 U.S. cities and more than 70 countries to help U.S. exporters. 

Company Information

Optical Cable Corporation (OCC®) is a leading manufacturer of a broad range of fiber optic and copper data communication cabling and connectivity solutions primarily for the enterprise market (or non-carrier market), offering an integrated suite of high quality, warranted products, which operate as a system solution or seamlessly integrate with other providers’ offerings.  OCC’s product offerings include designs for uses ranging from commercial, enterprise network, datacenter, wireless, residential and campus installations to customized products for specialty applications and harsh environments, including military, industrial, mining, petrochemical, wireless carrier and broadcast applications.  OCC products include fiber optic and copper cabling, fiber optic and copper connectors, specialty fiber optic and copper connectors, fiber optic and copper patch cords, pre-terminated fiber optic and copper cable assemblies, racks, cabinets, datacom enclosures, fiber optic and copper patch panels, face plates, multi-media boxes, wireless distributed antenna systems, fiber optic reels and accessories and other cable and connectivity management accessories. OCC products are designed to meet the most demanding needs of end-users, delivering a high degree of reliability and outstanding performance characteristics. 

OCC® is internationally recognized for pioneering the design and production of fiber optic cables for the most demanding military field applications, as well as of fiber optic cables suitable for both indoor and outdoor use, and creating a broad product offering built on the evolution of these fundamental technologies.  OCC also is internationally recognized for its role in establishing copper connectivity data communications standards, through its innovative and patented technologies.

Founded in 1983, OCC is headquartered in Roanoke, Virginia with offices, manufacturing and warehouse facilities located in each of Roanoke, Virginia, near Asheville, North Carolina and near Dallas, Texas.  OCC’s facilities are ISO 9001:2008 registered and OCC’s Roanoke and Dallas facilities are MIL-STD-790F certified.

Optical Cable Corporation, OCC®, Procyon®, Superior Modular Products, SMP Data Communications, Applied Optical Systems, and associated logos are trademarks of Optical Cable Corporation.

Further information about OCC® is available at .