Moody’s projections for the Roanoke Region of Virginia show the regional economy is slated to grow 6.1% this year and 3.5% next year when adjusted for inflation. This is the fastest growth this market has seen in more than 15 years.
Founded in 2010, Fralin Biomedical Research Institute at VTC is one of the nation’s fastest-growing academic biomedical research enterprises and a destination for world-class researchers.
In 2021, the Fralin Biomedical Research Institute had $140 million in current, active research grants and contracts – more than four times1 the combined research spending of Roanoke’s 15 peer cities, including Savannah, Asheville, and Erie.
Part of Virginia Tech – which had $560 million in cumulative research spending in 2020 – the institute support 37 faculty-led research teams focused on studying addiction, brain health and disease, heart disease, cancer, children’s health, and neurorehabilitation. Together, their work has led to more than a thousand publications in leading scientific journals and produced nearly one startup per year over the past five years.
The Roanoke Region of Virginia made yet another nationally recognized list as one of the 10 Unique Zoom Towns You’ll Want to Move to in 2022 by Rent.com. So what is a Zoom town? In the article, they refer to it as a community experiencing consequential population increases as remote workers and digital nomads move to town.
Most sources specifically reference Zoom towns as a community that has seen a significant population increase in the wake of the pandemic, with the shift occurring largely due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The notable move toward remote work is expected to have significant economic implications. Pre-pandemic only 10% or less of the population worked remotely full-time, but those statistics are rapidly changing.
Towns listed in the article were recognized for their livability-related amenities and low cost of living. Remote workers have the luxury of moving anywhere in the country, which gives a clear advantage to outdoor destinations where biking, hiking, skiing, paddling, or other outdoor activities provide an easy escape regardless of COVID status.
The Roanoke Regional Partnership’s decade-long effort to brand the Roanoke Region as an outdoor wonderland has paid dividends during the pandemic as people flee larger cities for clean air, open spaces, and affordable housing. The article in Rent.com is just one of many national features in the past several months highlighting this phenomenon.
The article by Virginia Business (see excerpt below) featured the Roanoke Regional Partnership’s executive director John Hull and several economic development partners, focusing on the uptick in economic development activity driven by regional revitalization strategies.
The article highlights Partnership-led, forward-thinking investments in infrastructure, strategic planning for revitalization, and a marketing approach that touts the area’s outdoor amenities which have led to recent sizable investments.
Munters Group AB, Cardinal Glass, Stik Pak, Balchem Corp, Valley Star Credit Union, Mack Trucks, the new Carilion Children’s facility, and the redevelopment at 419 Town Center are all mentioned as examples of this success in the story. Together these investments add up to a whopping $126.3 million.