1100 Block Demolition to Start

WHEELING – City Manager Robert Herron said crews are “mobilizing” this week to begin demolition of city-owned structures in the 1100 block of Main and Market streets Sunday.

Dore and Associates of Bay City, Mich. – approved in February as contractor for the job costing $693,600 – will set the stage with heavy demolition equipment throughout the week. Herron announced the start date at Wheeling City Council’s meeting Tuesday.

“They will start at the south end with the (former) Rite Aid building,” he said.

Herron expects the contractor will work from Market to Main streets, clearing an initial site where equipment can be set up, including a large crane. Crews then will work on razing other city-owned structures to the north. They include the former River City Dance Works building, G.C. Murphy building, Dr. Manny Velez’s dental practice and adjoining Feet First building and the Graham building.

Herron stressed that other, privately owned buildings in the block – such as the locations of the Panda and Vocelli’s restaurants and the former Howard’s Diamond Center – will not be affected.

Herron was unsure how long it would take to complete all of the work, but he said the city entered a five- or six-month contract with Dore and Associates. Dore bested other bidders Edgco Inc. of Martins Ferry, which submitted a bid of $831,600; O’Rourke Wrecking of Cincinnati, $854,000; and Advanced Builders of Belle Vernon, Pa., with a bid of $1.065 million.

The demolition is part of a $3.1 million plan to redevelop the downtown. Four area banks purchased bonds from the city late last year, which Herron previously said should be paid back in less than 12 years with a 4.2 percent interest rate. He noted the amount may be paid back sooner.

The bonds will be repaid with excess revenue from Tax Increment Financing Project Plan Area No. 3. Within the plan area, property taxes gathered by the city are directed toward various projects in the area.

The properties, aside from the dental office and Feet First, were initially purchased in 2008 for $715,000 and paid off in mid-2011.

The city later purchased the dental office and Feet First for $105,000 and invested in asbestos abatements at $225,690.

Additional project funds will be directed toward renovation of Market Street Plaza, estimated to cost more than $1 million, and relocation of Velez’s dental practice within the city limits at a cost of up to $160,400.