City of Wheeling Considers Options For Main Street Buildings

Local business owners pitch ideas to leaders

Photos by Casey Junkins Wheeling City Solicitor Rosemary Humway-Warmuth speaks during the Development Committee meeting Thursday, as Councilman Dave Palmer listens.

WHEELING — A mixed-use building featuring loft-style apartments, a second edition of the Acapulco Mexican Restaurant of Moundsville, or an additional location for the Pizza Milano business of St. Clairsville are the development options Wheeling officials have for the 1107-1109 Main St. structures.

City officials purchased these buildings — positioned across Main Street from the new headquarters of The Health Plan — for a total of $200,000 in March 2016 with intentions of demolishing them. However, the new Wheeling City Council, led by Mayor Glenn Elliott, decided to work to preserve them upon taking office in July of that year.

Thursday, members of the city’s Development Committee heard three development proposals from those seeking to take ownership of the buildings. City leaders previously said they would be willing to part with the structures for about $1 each.

Mills Group Principal Architect Victor Greco made the first presentation. He envisions an ambitious project that would combine the two structures, while totaling about $2.5 million worth of work.

Greco said he continues working with banks to finance the project, but said it would likely feature apartments on the upper floors, along with some type of restaurant on the lower levels. He said the buildings’ relationship to the Ohio River makes them attractive.

“Being out of the floodplain, but with a view of the river, that is very unique in this area,” Greco said.

Greco said if selected, he would utilize both federal and state historic preservation tax credits, which can potentially reduce the cost of work by up to 45 percent, in total.

“There is a lot of work to be done. We need some more time,” Greco said when asked for specific details.

Next, Acapulco owner Luis Salas told the committee he hopes to open a second location of the popular Moundsville restaurant in Wheeling.

“Even after (5 p.m.), I believe we will be successful,” he said.

“I have no question that we can be successful in this town.”

Elliott then asked Salas if he realized the buildings need considerable work before they could serve as a restaurant. Salas again emphasized the success of his Moundsville establishment, which he said began in a much more challenging business climate.

Finally, the committee heard from Engin Guler, owner of Pizza Milano in St. Clairsville. He said before starting this business, he ran a Vocelli Pizza location in Wheeling.

“I feel at home in Wheeling,” he said.

Guler said his St. Clairsville shop sold about $747,000 worth of food last year. He said he anticipates his Wheeling project would cost at least $1 million.

“We’re going to get some more information, and determine how we should move forward over the next couple of weeks,” Vice Mayor Chad Thalman said after the Thursday meeting.

City leaders also continue seeking options for the buildings they own in the 1400 block of Market Street, after demolishing the rear portion of these structures in the fall.