Purchase, Lease Deal OK’d for The Highlands

The Ohio County Development Authority on Tuesday approved a purchase agreement for a company that wants to purchase property, construct a building and bring “four to five” additional tenants to The Highlands.

United Growth, a California-based capital management group, plans to purchase 2.6 acres in the Town Center area of The Highlands for a price of $900,000, according to County Administrator Greg Stewart.

“They will be the landlord,” Stewart said. “They will bring the tenants.”

At least two additional restaurants and some “unique retail” offerings are expected, he continued, though no deals have been finalized by United Growth. The company has 90 days to back out of the contract with the Ohio County Development Authority.

“Finishing that one large project we hope to be able to announce in February for the Town Center … in my opinion … is as nice and as interesting as anything we’ve done since Cabelas,” said Commissioner Randy Wharton, chairman of the Ohio County Development Authority.

Members of the authority met in executive session for about 15 minutes prior to approving the purchase agreement, and they also agreed to two additional lease agreements.

Ohio Valley Medical Center will lease 4,183 square feet in the former Crone’s Clothiers space at an annual cost $20 per square foot, or $83,660 a year, according to Stewart. Also, MVB Insurance will rent 2,500 square feet near the AT&T call center building for a yearly fee of $25 a square foot, or $62,500.

Stewart informed Development Authority members two additional parking areas have been added in the Town Center area, creating an additional 153 parking spots. While paving is complete, the areas won’t have parking lines until after weather conditions improve.

Following the Development Authority meeting, Ohio County commissioners convened for their regular meeting.

They approved hotel/motel tax request for the West Liberty University Performing Arts Project at $3,300 and for the Lady Patriots Girls Basketball Tournament at $500.

Commissioners also agreed to move voting Precinct 31, currently located in Fulton at the Ohio County Schools Operation Center, to the Russell Nesbitt Services building at 431 Fulton St. The new location is more accessible to those with physical limitations, Stewart said.