$2 Million To Be Spent at 950 Main St. in Wheeling for Live Music Tavern
WHEELING — The Carl brothers think it’s time live music rings out from a bar on Main Street, and they’re about to spend $2 million to see that it happens.
Doug, Mike and Dave Carl already have installed the first of 95 new windows needed in the building they just purchased at 950 Main St. in Wheeling. On the first floor is longtime business, the Bridge Tavern Grill.
“We’re just piggybacking on the excitement that has certainly taken hold of Wheeling,” Mike Carl said.
He said with such new residential offerings downtown as those at the Boury Lofts the Stone Center and Flatiron Building, there are more people moving downtown.
“My brothers and I believe there could be a need for a tavern with live music,” Carl said. “One of the reasons we looked at this building is we were just in love with the Bridge Tavern.
“It’s a really cool place. It’s a Wheeling icon, and we don’t want to see it go the way of Bill’s Hamburgers and all the others that have gone away.”
Carl said the brothers purchased the building for about $200,000 from Bridge Tavern owner George Dormas, and they plan to invest another $1.8 million to rehabilitate the structure.
Dormas, meanwhile, will continue to own the Bridge Tavern.
Carl explained he and his brothers reached a deal with Dormas that he would keep the bar/tavern open for the foreseeable future, and when Dormas is ready to retire, they will purchase it.
“We hope that’s not until at least five or 10 years,” he said. “We’re not in any hurry to take over the business.
“And George Dormas is absolutely synonymous with the Bridge Tavern. You cannot separate the two. We think it’s an important part of Wheeling — this retail space.”
The 950 Main St. building consists of four floors, and 20,000 square feet of space.
The upper three floors once served as hotel rooms, but have sat vacant for nearly 40 years. Carl sees the upper floors as being converted into residential and commercial space.
A downtown firm, Adventures in Elegance, is replacing the windows in the building, and this is just the first step in the structure’s rehabilitation.
Kalkreuth Roofing — also of Wheeling — is in the process of installing a new roof.
Mike Carl said the “envelope” of the building, the roof and window projects, should be completed by winter.
Work to replace the plumbing, electrical and fire security systems then will begin, and there will be a new elevator installed.
“It will be a completely gutted space,” he said.
Carl is an ownership partner in both Warwood Tool and H.E. Neumann Co.
He said he has been in construction all his life, and has been involved with many large projects associated with those businesses.
But this is the first time he has taken on a total rehabilitation project of this magnitude.
He said it is not lost on him that 950 Main St. is at a highly visible location in Wheeling, and is one of the first you see after exiting Interstate 70.
“We are the gateway to downtown, and we certainly appreciate that space,” he said. “It is our intent to make this building as absolutely historically correct and finished as possible. … We want this place to be a showplace when it’s done.