Plan To Revitalize Roanoke's Former Viscose Plant Gives Residents of Southeast, Long Seen as Neglected, New Hope

Over the last decade, Southeast Roanoke has experienced the steepest drop in population among any Roanoke neighborhood.

From her porch in Southeast Roanoke, Robin Naff looks out over Morningside Park, with a ventilation stack from the former American Viscose Company plant in the background. She expressed excitement over plans to redevelop the million-square-foot campus into residences and businesses. PHOTO BY HENRI GENDREAU FOR THE ROANOKE RAMBLER

A proposal to turn Southeast Roanoke’s former American Viscose Plant into a hub of homes and businesses is the talk of Robin Naff’s block.

Naff, who lives just north of Morningside Park, said she and neighbors are excited about the potential of developer Ed Walker’s plans to transform the industrial center — and Southeast along with it.

“This area’s starting to come alive, and I think that’s due to the hospital,” and medical school, said Naff, 59, a retired nurse who now spends nights cleaning Carilion Clinic buildings.