Highlands Deal To Bring in Pipeliners

Ohio County Administrator Greg Stewart believes things will be buzzing at The Highlands very soon, with several new tenant announcements expected in the coming months and pair of new lease agreements that will bring about 800 pipeline workers to the retail development each day.

Following a closed-door executive session Tuesday, the Ohio County Development Authority approved the six-month lease agreements, one with Sheehan Pipeline for 15 acres near the Silgan Plastics building and another with Rockford Pipeline for 10 acres behind Marquee Cinemas. Workers will park on the leased land and be transported to various pipeline projects around the area, according to Ohio County Administrator Greg Stewart.

Both leases are for $1,000 per acre per month for a total of $125,000 in combined revenue over six months, but that isn’t what has Stewart most excited about the agreements. He said Sheehan will be bringing about 500 workers to The Highlands daily and Rockford, another 300 – people he expects will be eating in restaurants and frequenting stores at the retail development.

“We think the big win is bringing that many people to the site daily,” Stewart said. “They can’t park 500 guys off (W.Va. 88) out there … they take buses and vans and take them out from The Highlands to the work site.”

During a meeting last month, authority members discussed a pair of projects that could bring in several additional tenants. One, Stewart said, would consist of two buildings with combined space for seven tenants, to be located next to Fusion Japanese Steakhouse. The other involves a new tenant in the Town Center area of the development.

“We’re getting close to closing. … I would expect by the end of August we’ll close on those,” Stewart said Tuesday.

Because the deals aren’t final, Stewart said he can’t comment on the tenants that may be locating at The Highlands.

He previously described the potential Town Center tenant as a unique business, and on Tuesday he said the multi-tenant development could be a mix of restaurants and other retail and office space.

Agreements are already in place with four tenants, he said, with two others close to signing and a seventh expected to sign by the end of August.

Following the development authority meeting, Ohio County commissioners held their regular meeting. Commissioners Tim McCormick, Orphy Klempa and Randy Wharton unanimously approved several requests for hotel/motel tax funding, including $7,500 for the annual Fantasy in Lights parade; $1,200 for the Wheeling YMCA summer day camp; $1,000 each for the Heritage Music BluesFest, Fort Henry Days, Kiwanis Annual Doo Wop, Mountaineer BrewFest, Wheeling ArtsFest and the YWCA’s Over the Edge fundraising event; and $500 each for the Make Wishes Come True 5K Run/Walk and the Ohio Valley Heart Walk.

Stewart also informed commissioners the county ended the fiscal year June 30 with a $413,895 carryover.

With a $375,000 estimated carryover built into the budget, he recommended the remaining unassigned $38,895 be placed in the contingency fund. Commissioners voted unanimously to do so.