Villa Heights was constructed circa 1820 by War of 1812 veteran, Lieutenant Colonel Elijah McClanahan. An imposing structure for its time, the two-story, brick home was originally just one room deep. Villa Heights remained largely unchanged until 1910 when the rear ell was constructed to accommodate modern amenities and then again in 1923 when Classical Revival detailing embellished the structure including the dramatic two-story portico.
In 1958 it was turned over to the City of Roanoke for use as a community recreational center. The City vacated the property in 2007 and it sat empty for ten years during which time it was heavily damaged by fire. It was in such a dire state that Preservation Virginia and the Roanoke Valley Preservation Foundation included the historic home on their endangered sites list in 2013.
Upon Restoration Housing’s acquisition in 2017, Villa Heights was successfully nominated to both the National and State Historic Registers allowing for the use of Federal and State Historic Tax Credits in combination with Community Development Block Grant funding and fire insurance proceeds provided by the City of Roanoke. A year-long rehabilitation commenced with the project completed in October 2019. Restoration Housing’s first Community Impact Development, it is affordably rented to nonprofits serving the surrounding community with shared, programmatic space on the first floor and offices on the second floor. Villa Heights was awarded the 2019 Gabriella Page Preservation Award for Outstanding Preservation Project by Preservation Virginia and the 2019 Kegley Preservation Award for Historic Rehabilitation by the Roanoke Valley Preservation Foundation.