Deschutes To Build Brewery In Roanoke

A recruitment campaign that began more than four years ago and included a vigorous and unprecedented grass-roots crusade culminated Tuesday in an announcement that Oregon-based Deschutes Brewery is Roanoke bound.

A standing-room-only crowd at the City Market Building’s Charter Hall greeted the news with hoots and cheers, sustained applause and, ultimately, a group toast and the clank of beer bottles filled with Deschutes’ various brews, including Mirror Pond Pale Ale and Fresh Squeezed IPA.

Gov. Terry McAuliffe and Deschutes executives, including founder Gary Fish, announced Tuesday that the craft brewer plans to invest $85 million and build its East Coast production brewery on about 49 acres at the Roanoke Centre for Industry and Technology, a city business park off U.S. 460 in the vicinity of Blue Hills Golf Club.

That won’t happen for a while, though. Construction will begin in 2019, Deschutes said. The company expects to start shipping beer from Roanoke in about five years.

Fish said Tuesday that the project will require “a good two years of engineering and design,” adding, “We’ve got to make sure we can finance this thing.”

After Tuesday’s big announcement, Fish said, “things will go quiet for a while.”

City Manager Chris Morrill described Deschutes as “a very cautious, deliberate company.” He said he believes their selection of Roanoke “will be a good morale boost” that will help spur additional economic growth.

Deschutes reported it will hire 108 workers for the Roanoke brewery. The state will contribute $3 million from the Commonwealth’s Opportunity Fund and a host of other incentives will sweeten the deal.

Deschutes had previously confirmed that the company also was considering sites in Asheville, North Carolina, and Charleston, South Carolina.

“It was a good competition, but the best state won. You know why?” McAuliffe said. “Because Virginia is for beer lovers, folks.”

Fish said the Roanoke site won out as much for qualities that might be considered intangible as for tangible fundamentals.

“The tangibles are easy to compare,” he said. “We just felt like this place suited us best. The people, the place. We think this fits our entrepreneurial spirit and our sense of community.”

The brewery initially will produce about 150,000 barrels, with a design to increase capacity as needed. Fish said details about a companion brew pub will become clearer once the project approaches fruition.

Beth Doughty, executive director of the Roanoke Regional Partnership, said the partnership’s first direct contact with Deschutes occurred May 25, 2012 — a contact that emerged, she said, from a broader campaign to appeal to craft brewers that launched in January of that year.

She said city officials, the Virginia Economic Development Partnership and McAuliffe played important roles in landing the brewery.

The region’s grassroots campaign, Deschutes 2 Roanoke, played a major role, she said. Fish agreed. Michael Galliher, who helped lead that effort, received recognition Tuesday.

“I think the work of the Roanoke Regional Partnership and the city was important, but the community outpouring of support was huge,” Doughty said.

Michael LaLonde, president of Deschutes Brewery, said choosing the site was a tough decision. Like Fish, he expressed appreciation for the Deschutes 2 Roanoke campaign.

“We have absolutely been blown away with how the community rallied around bringing us here and has given us such a warm welcome,” LaLonde said.

Deschutes is based in Bend, Oregon, a community that, by its own description, evolved from “a sleepy lumber town to an international mecca for outdoor enthusiasts.” Deschutes started as a brew pub in Bend in 1988.

Deschutes officials said months ago that they sought an East Coast site that also emphasized outdoor recreation, an amenity that Roanoke Valley economic development and tourism officials began touting several years ago.

Doughty said “having the culture match in terms of outdoor amenities and livability” helped seal the deal, a reality she celebrated Tuesday.

“We have been focused on this project for four years,” she said. “We are totally invested in it. It’s really gratifying to see a plan come together.”

Taken From: Roanoke Times (Link)

How To Buy Your First Home

Property prices are the lowest they’ve been in a decade or more. Mortgage rates continue to hover near historic lows.

This is gloomy news for prospective sellers and great news for first-time buyers–if you tread carefully amid such a momentous transaction.

“It’s a great time to buy if you’ve got the credit,” says Andrew Firoved, chief executive and founder of CounselorDirect.com. “They say buy low, sell high, and you’re buying low.”

To make sure you buy low, and smart, here are a few pointers.

Make sure buying is for you. Are rents cheap and homes costly in your city? Are you planning to move in the next year or two? Is your job looking iffy? If any of these apply, buying might not be a good move. After all, the days when houses could quickly be flipped for more money are history.

“Real estate is not as liquid an investment as it was 5 or 10 years ago,” cautions Steve Domber, president of Prudential Serls Prime Properties, a real estate broker firm operating across New York state and Connecticut. “If you don’t feel that you are going to stay in your job in your current location then consider renting.”
Do a credit check. Cash and good credit are critical to snagging a bargain home and keeping it. Before you go shopping make sure you have the cash on hand for a down payment and a mortgage lender who is willing to provide you with a home loan at an affordable rate.

Get pre-approved by a lender or mortgage brokers (and check out your broker at nmlsconsumeraccess.org). Pre-approval can help expedite the closing of your purchase, a process that given the current economic climate can take months.

Consider a down payment and the alternatives. Another key financial factor is a down payment. Firoved urges real estate newcomers to cough up 20%, which immediately adds equity to your house and lowers monthly payments.

“You know you can afford to buy a home when you have saved enough money to put a down payment,” he says. That down payment also means you can qualify for a loan modification program down the road if, heaven forbid, you need it.

Many first-timers don’t have the cash to put up 20% of a home’s value. No need to worry, says Robert Walters, chief economist and vice president of the Capital Markets Group for Quicken Loans. Your mortgage officer should be able to find alternatives that work for you.

Uncle Sam offers a handful of government-backed loans with 0% to 3.5% down. Check out the Federal Housing Administration’s loans. Former military members can go through the Department of Veterans Affairs, and the Department of Agriculture offers loans through the Rural Development program.

Skirting the traditional 20% down payment means a mandatory additional expense: private mortgage insurance. PMI might not seem like a big deal, but it comes with a few hitches. This insurance typically costs between 0.5% to 1% of the entire loan amount on an annual basis. In other words, a $150,000 loan at a 1% insurance rate adds an extra $125 per month to your bills. The insurance protects your lender against the possibility of you defaulting on the property and can be charged until as much as 50% of the loan is paid off. The good news is PMI is tax deductible for married couples jointly making up to $110,000.
Be realistic about costs. However much you make, don’t shop for a home that will gobble up most of your income each month. In addition to mortgage and principal payments, buying a home means paying for insurance, maintenance and real estate taxes.

“One of the biggest mistakes first-time home buyers make is they don’t leave themselves with enough money,” cautions Walters.

Don’t cut corners on inspections. Always cough up the extra cash for a good home inspection, especially if you’re buying a foreclosed home.

“A home inspection is key…to really understanding the condition a home is in,” stresses Domber.

Follow these steps and you could be in a place of your own that provides happy, lucrative returns for years to come. Says Walters: “I think that 20, 30, 40 years from now we’ll see that this was potentially one of the best times in modern history for a first-time home buyer to purchase a home.”