For the Record - Southwest Virginia, July 2013

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Alexander’s in Downtown Roanoke has been named to OpenTable Diners’ Choice 2013 list of “Top 100 Restaurants for Service in the United States.” The OpenTable Tops 100 list is derived from more than 5 million customer reviews at more than 15,000 restaurants in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Alexander’s was the only restaurant in western Virginia and one of only four restaurants in the state to be named to the Top 100 list. (News release)

Appalachian Power Co. is seeking state approval to convert one of its power plants to burn natural gas instead of coal, the result of tougher environmental regulations. In a request to the State Corporation Commission, Appalachian detailed plans to convert a portion of the Clinch River Power Plant in Russell County. The utility first said in 2011 that switching the plant to natural gas — and closing a second power plant in Giles County — were the most cost-efficient ways to comply with new regulations from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. (The Roanoke Times)

Belk is relocating its store at Bristol Mall in Bristol, Va., to a new, $20 million, 132,000-square-foot fashion store at The Pinnacle in Bristol, Tenn. Belk said that the store’s grand opening is set for spring 2015. Until then, the Belk store in Virginia will continue to operate. The Pinnacle is a new 250-acre, open-air, mixed-use development located at Exit 74 off Interstate 81 and Highway 11. (

Big Lots will open in the former Food Lion building on U.S. 220 in Roanoke. The discount retailer finalized a lease for the 31,762-square-foot building, which will undergo renovations and should open in August. The store will be the closeout retailer’s fourth location in the Roanoke-Vinton-Salem area. Food Lion closed the Franklin Road store and one in Fairlawn early last year, citing poor sales.  (The Roanoke Times)

Roanoke’s mountain marathon and half-marathon generated nearly a half-million dollars in economic impact this year, according to a survey of the runners. The $476,000 in direct and indirect spending by 1,684 runners in the April 20 Foot Levelers Blue Ridge Marathon and Half Marathon — and their friends and family who traveled with them — is up 26.3 percent from last year, according to the survey by Roanoke Regional Partnership and Roanoke Valley-Alleghany Regional Commission. (The Roanoke Times)

After spending the past five years on and off the market, The Roanoke Times has a buyer: a newspaper company owned by billionaire businessman Warren Buffett. Buffett’s BH Media Group purchased the newspaper from Landmark Media Enterprise. The Roanoke Times joins a growing number of Virginia daily newspapers — including those in Bristol, Charlottesville, Danville, Lynchburg and Richmond — to be acquired in recent years by BH Media, a wholly owned subsidiary of Berkshire Hathaway Inc. (The Roanoke Times)

The Roanoke Valley’s new brand is “Virginia’s Blue Ridge,” according to Landon Howard, president of the Roanoke Valley Convention and Visitors Bureau. The organization plans to push the Roanoke Valley as a mini-vacation spot for people across Virginia and North Carolina. The pitch is what Howard calls “a metro mountains mix,” located nearer to many North Carolina residents and to all Virginians than the big draw at Asheville, N.C. (The Roanoke Times)

Techulon Inc. in Blacksburg has been selected by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency for a Phase II contract to advance its therapeutic program for multidrug-resistant bacteria, or “superbugs.”  This award drives Techulon’s development of a nanotherapeutic agent that will give the Department of Defense and hospitals the ability to rapidly respond and treat patients with life-threatening multidrug-resistant infections. (News release)




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