Business developer blocked from leasing at Kent Square

by Ben Walls-

Delaware business developer Joseph Boss continues to fight on his behalf for opening two restaurants at 202 South Main Street and 204 South Main Street in Blacksburg.

“I’m committed to bringing change,” Boss said. “I want to invest more into the community of Blacksburg, not less.

“I want to be involved in the culture down at Virginia Tech and to improve it and make it better.”

204 South Main Street, Blacksburg is one of two restaurant location spaces that developer Joesph Boss wants to lease. It currently has no tenants. March 20, 2023.

Boss wishes to open one bar named “The Sandman” and one pizza restaurant named “Weirdoughs.” Meanwhile, the Town of Blacksburg’s Planning and Building Department has denied his building permit application twice in 16 months.

Boss added he has “scratched his head” and does not know what criteria he is missing for Blacksburg to approve his applications. Boss admitted in the past year the town has made criticisms to the restaurants’ access to the bathrooms and the patios outside, however.

The two restaurant locations would occupy spaces that a Subway and a Starbucks location formerly leased in the Kent Square development. The development itself spreads across nearly 100,000 square feet in Blacksburg’s original 16 squares, and it includes a parking garage, an art gallery, a dental office, a jewelry store and condominiums currently.

According to Boss, acceptable liquor licenses have been approved, and restaurant employees who will have starting hourly rates at $15/hour have already been selected for work.

Frustrated with the town’s response to his proposals, Boss turned to creating a petition to create grassroots support and inform the Blacksburg public about his cause. 

Boss says bartenders and servers have been chosen for work at The Sandman and Weirdoughs. March 20, 2023.

The petition titled “Save Weirdoughs and The Sandman from The Town of Blacksburg’s abuse of power” has dozens of supporters wishing for answers why a building permit has not been approved.

“Weirdoughs and The Sandman are two new businesses (restaurants) that invested hundreds of thousands of dollars into the community of Blacksburg,” Boss said as the petition’s writer. “These businesses are projected to hire over 100 employees in the community and pay 30% higher wages than the local average.

“They [were] both already approved as restaurants for Starbucks and a Subway. So we ask why is there an issue now?”

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