Repair Costs For Downtown Wheeling Buildings Are Through the Roof

Photo by Heather Ziegler Estimated costs to replace the roofs on these four city-owned buildings in the 1400 block of Market Street are proving to be more than the city of Wheeling has to spend.

WHEELING — City leaders are realizing the costs of being landlords.

City Manager Robert Herron said the city of Wheeling has $300,000 set aside in the general fund for work on four buildings along Market Street that the city has purchased within the past three years. However, roof costs alone could total more than what the city can afford.

He said two of the buildings have pitched roofs, while the other two are flat rooftops.

“The two pitched roofs would cost a total of $308,000 to replace and flat roofs would cost about $50,000 a piece,” Herron said. “There has been no decision to go forward with that at this time.”

Tom Connelly, assistant director of Wheeling’s Economic and Community Development Department, said the Wheeling Landmarks Commission applied for and received a $10,000 grant to conduct an architectural study to determine what it would cost to make repairs to the roofs of all four structures. The commission’s hope is to maintain the architectural and historic significance of the buildings, if possible.

He said McKinley & Associates provided the drawings and estimated costs of replacing the roofs.

The city also is seeking estimated costs for asbestos removal for the four buildings.

In August 2015, Wheeling City Council authorized spending a total of $155,000 to purchase the vacant Sportsman’s Club at 1425 Market St., Erica’s Grill & Lounge at 1429 Market St. and the O’Reilly’s Irish Pub at 1433 Market St. In September 2016, city officials spent another $140,000 for the building at 1437 Market St., which houses the Market Street News business. The tenant pays rent to the city and will be moved out if and when the city sells or demolishes the property.

The idea behind the acquisition of property is for private development. However, to date, the city has had no takers.

On June 5, 2017, bricks fell from the rear of 1429 Market St., blocking the alley to traffic. Several months later, demolition began to remove the failing portions at the rear of the structure at a cost of $25,000.

Plans remain in place to also remove the rear portion of the Sportsman’s Club and to remove asbestos from all the structures.

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