Highlands Acreage To Be Sold to ‘Energy’ Company

The Ohio County Development Authority on Tuesday approved a deal to sell 15.76 acres of land at The Highlands to an energy-related company.

After holding a 30-minute, closed-door session, the board approved the deal with the company, the name of which Commissioner Randy Wharton said would be disclosed at a later date – likely by the company.

”It’s another light industrial business,” Wharton said, noting the deal will be a ”seven-figure” one for the OCDA.

The acreage is situated on land near the Cabela’s distribution center and Silgan Plastics building. Administrator Greg Stewart declined to say whether the energy-related company deals with natural gas.

The authority also approved allowing Stewart to further negotiate a deal to sell a 2.5-acre plot near the Fusion Steakhouse property to a developer. Wharton said the developer is planning to construct another strip of storefronts similar to where Fusion is situated.

”It’s not a local developer,” he added, noting they may team up with a local business partner.

They also approved allowing Stewart to continue negotiating a lease for a new non-retail but health-related tenant in 1,750 square feet of space in the West Liberty building, located in the Town Center section of the development.

Wharton noted the OCDA does not want to release the names of the energy-related company, other developers or the health business until their respective deals are complete. The authority also approved extending Lane Bryant’s lease by another year.

The authority also approved a resolution to join the Public Employees Retirement System. Stewart noted the OCDA has been a PERS member for years, but since it now has its own employee identification number it was required to adopt a resolution. Stewart said eight to nine employees are OCDA workers. Most of them, he said, take care of The Highlands.

He also updated members about new businesses that have opened at the site, such as the Highmark health insurance company office in the Town Center. He also said the Hampton Inn under construction is expected to open in April. And a new Holiday Inn Express, which is not an OCDA-related project, opened in December.

During the Ohio County Commission meeting, held after the OCDA session, Melissa Thompson, community development specialist for the city of Wheeling, talked about the Home Consortium Program during a public hearing.

No one from the public spoke for or against the program, which provides funding for first-time homebuyers looking to purchase a home in Ohio, Brooke, Hancock and Marshall counties. For more information, call Thompson at 304-234-3701.

The commission also approved administering two state grants: $131,095, Stop Violence Against Women Grant, which funds a sheriff’s deputy, a position in the Prosecutor’s Office and the YWCA’s family violence program; and $66,135, Emergency Management Planning Grant used to help fund the Wheeling-Ohio County Emergency Management Agency.