Thursday, April 19, 2012
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Crystal Tower tenants told to leave because of pending sale

The developer's plans for the building are still being worked out but may include apartments.

Total Action Against Poverty has told 17 tenants to clear out of the Crystal Tower building on Campbell Avenue in Roanoke because a developer expects to close on a sale for the building by early summer. Tenants have been told to be out of the building by the end of May.

Stephanie Klein-Davis | The Roanoke Times

Total Action Against Poverty has told 17 tenants to clear out of the Crystal Tower building on Campbell Avenue in Roanoke because a developer expects to close on a sale for the building by early summer. Tenants have been told to be out of the building by the end of May.

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Correction (April 19, 2012: 9:10 a.m.): The Crystal Tower building in downtown Roanoke is listed for $1.5 million. The asking price was incorrect in previous versions of this story. The story has been updated. | Our corrections policy




A pending sale of the Crystal Tower building in downtown Roanoke has prompted Total Action Against Poverty to order its 17 tenants to vacate their spaces.

Two hair salons, Mr. Bill's and the Cutting Edge, said Wednesday that they received letters this week asking them to leave their longtime storefronts by May 31.

The letter was from Roanoke attorney Richard Foster on behalf of Crystal Tower Building Corp.

TAP put the building at the corner of Campbell Avenue and Second Street up for sale in 2010 and moved its offices across the street to the former First National Bank, which it also owns.

Several attorney's offices and other businesses remain in the building, in addition to the retailers on the ground floor.

The sale of the Crystal Tower building was part of TAP's plan to downsize in response to a reduction in federal and state funds.

Calls and emails to TAP were not returned Wednesday.

TAP originally asked $2.25 million for the eight-story, 78,000-square-foot building. The price was reduced to $1.5 million, according to a Waldvogel Commercial Properties online listing.

Krista Vannoy, the listing agent, said a sale is pending with a developer whom she wouldn't name. The developer's plans for the building are still being worked out but might include apartments or offices with some retail, she said.

If the developer goes ahead with the plans, the sale likely would close early this summer, Vannoy said.

Bill Chapman, a developer from Richmond, had the building under contract earlier this year but ultimately decided not to buy it, he said. Instead, he expects to close next week on another downtown property. He declined to name the property because of the pending sale.

Foster, the attorney working with Waldvogel and TAP to clear out the building, said Wednesday that all of the tenants will be asked to leave.

"Every effort has been made to address each tenant's lease," Foster said.

But Mr. Bill's lease isn't up until July, said Wanda Hollifield, whose husband, Bill Hollifield, owns the barber shop.

She said she planned to consult an attorney.

The barber shop has occupied a storefront in the Crystal Tower building since 1971.

"You give so much of your life to keep a business going," Hollifield said. "They just did it the wrong way. We just remodeled."

She said they have leads on a new location but haven't signed a new lease.

A few doors down, the Cutting Edge also is preparing to move.

Owner Allison Greeley said she began looking for a new location for her hair salon a month ago because she anticipated being forced to move.

She will relocate the business to The Colony, a group of shops and businesses at Colonial Avenue and 23rd Street in Roanoke near Towers Shopping Center.

The Cutting Edge's last day downtown will be April 28. The new salon will open May1.

She already has told some of her customers, who she said were happy about the move.

"They are tickled to death to have a parking lot," she said.

Meanwhile, the Hummus House, a Lebanese restaurant that opened in the Crystal Tower building in February, hadn't received its letter as of Wednesday afternoon, owner Daniel Melki said.

He signed a month-to-month lease and said that he has been looking at several other downtown spaces.

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