Home Depot had a wonderful Christmas gift for the residents at Brambelton Avenue and Rt. 419. The big orange strip will not be locating in the Cave Spring area after all (see December 6, 1998 newsflash). After running TV ads from the mysterious “Cave Springs Business Owners” touting the 130,000 s.f. Home Depot, the company announced right before Christmas that “the cost got to be too much” for building their store at the steeply inclined site. Home Depot decided to pull out after touring the site on December 21st, and declaring it a “difficult and expensive decision.” The typical Home Depot project costs around $13 million to build, according to the company’s SEC report, but no figure was given for the Cave Springs. Home Depot will have to be satisfied with the Roanoke store they opened in October. Cave Springs would have been the second Depot for Roanoke. The project met with what the Roanoke Times called “fierce opposition” from local residents, but when asked if citizen battles had anything with the company’s decision to cave in, a Home Depot spokesman said “Absolutely not.” The company also had run in troubles with some of the property owners, who were reportedly relieved that the store was not coming. Property owners complained that the developer who negotiated purchase agreements with them did not disclose that they were planning on building a big box retailer. The Cave Spring Community Group had filed a lawsuit to stop the County Supervisors from proceeding with the project. Supervisors initially rejected the store, then reversed themselves to vote for Home Depot. But by the end, even the property owners allegedly did not want to extend their purchase agreements, which expired around the New Year. Home Depot has agreed to pay the county back $275,000 for two pieces of property the county bought for road improvements to benefit Home Depot. County officials spent the tax dollars for Home Depot, hoping to get increased tax revenues. Just down the road from the Home Depot site is Brambleton Hardware. Owner Doug Basham played a leading role in the anti-Home Depot group. “I think this closes a very unfortunate chapter in Roanoke County government,” said one County Supervisor. “I’m hopeful that another chapter like this is never again revisited.” The Chairman of the Supervisors added: “Home Depot was not a defining moment in the history of this county.” Nettie Hale, one of the members of the Beane family that had entered into agreements with Home Depot, seemed relieved that the Cave Springs ordeal was over. “That’s our Christmas gift,” she concluded. Santa must have departed in an orange suit.
For more background on the Home Depot Cave Springs Cave In, contact Mark Peterson, Box 5272, Roanoke, VA 24012. And to all the residents of Cave Springs, Happy New Year from the nice people at Paces Ferry Road in Atlanta, GA!