By Matt de Simone
After much speculation, the old Groendyk Manufacturing property finally found itself a buyer.
Chris Vail of the Roanoke-based Sycamore Development Company recently spoke with The Herald about the company’s purchase of the old plant. The real estate development company has operated in the Roanoke Valley for the last decade. Sycamore purchased the Groendyk property from a private owner in a straightforward transaction.
“So far, we’ve definitely had a focus on historic rehab, which is a niche that we’ve found ourselves in,” Vail said.
Sycamore Development Company and the Town of Buchanan continue to work on the approvals. The company’s preliminary plans for the Groendyk building are to redevelop the more prominent/main building into 22 market-rate apartments, with the secondary building leased out to a craft brewing operation.
Vail praised working with the Town of Buchanan on the sale of the old manufacturing plant.
“The Town of Buchanan has been great,” Vail added. “(Town Manager) Susan McCulloch and (Community Development/Events Manager) Harry Gleason are consummate professionals of small-town government. I really enjoy working with them, and I look forward to continuing working with them.”
Over many years, the Virginia Can Company, Hafleigh Button Factory, and the MTI Groendyk manufacturing company used the property on Route 11 in Buchanan.
According to Harry Fulwiler’s book Buchanan, Virginia: Gateway to the Southwest, President of the Virginia Can Company Oscar C. Huffman built the original structures from several early 1800s brick structures from his property known as Oak Hill. The Continental Can Company and Virginia Can Company established significant manufacturing operations in Buchanan after 1903.
“The zoning ordinance text amendments zoning district amendment and rezoning were unanimously approved by Planning Commission on January 4, 2022,” Buchanan Town Manager Susan McCulloch recently mentioned when asked about the purchase. “We are extremely excited as the next steps are taken for this potential development.
“If approved during its special use permit process, it would be the first housing development of its size in over 25 years, and an infusion of 22 new households is a great win for Buchanan. The proposed brew pub as part of this mixed-use development is a great economic development activity for the town and will add to the recreation destination it has become. Sycamore Development has been great to work with, and we look forward to the project moving forward in what is considered a blighted building in our community.”
Sycamore Development Company is currently redeveloping the old Rubatex plant in Bedford into over 50 apartment units with additional commercial retail spaces. Rubatex was formerly an affiliate company of Groendyk years ago. When the development of the Rubatex building is completed, the company plans to move on to the redevelopment of the old Groendyk facility.