Economic Revitalization & Capital Investment

Freedom First’s robust Business Banking and Commercial Lending departments work hard with local developers, business owners, and entrepreneurs to breathe new life into our region through commercial redevelopment of existing properties, often preserving and honoring the buildings’ historical significance to the surrounding community. One such project Freedom First was excited to finance was the restoration of the historic Fire Station #1 building in downtown Roanoke.

In 2018-2019, Freedom First issued 207 commercial loans for a total of $87,108,680 invested in developing the Roanoke and New River Valley regions. Furthermore, $37,900,000 of that investment went to targeted investment areas with the goal of bolstering the economy in historically distressed areas.

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Historic Fire Station #1

Historic Preservation Project

The 1907 station has not been in public use at all for more than a decade - so Freedom First was excited to provide financing for this beloved historic landmark to breathe new life into it. The building, which was replaced by a new station at the corner of Elm Avenue and Franklin Road in 2007, is on the National Register of Historic Places and the Virginia Landmarks Register. Design plans for the historic building include converting the bottom floor into a mixed-use retail-brewery combination, including a Black Dog Salvage retail space. Upstairs, there will be seven Airbnb-style rooms and meeting space.


"It’s great. This is a wonderful building," said Hunter Greene, the director of architecture at Hill Studio. “It’s got a lot of history to it, obviously, and has a lot of architectural character, so it’ll be great to see it back in shape.” Greene said they plan to preserve the fire poles, an ornate spiral staircase, woodwork and other unique features of the building.

Freedom First has financed numerous other large-scale revitalization efforts throughout the region, including the Salem Motor Lofts, the Lancerlot Sports Complex, and the Liberty Trust Building. If you are interested in commercial financing or other business banking services, contact us today.