Wheeling City Council Approves $350,000 Redevelopment Plan for Buildings at 1107, 1109 Main Street

WHEELING — City council finalized plans to redevelop city-owned, vacant properties on Main Street across from The Health Plan at its meeting Tuesday evening.

Council unanimously voted to approve an ordinance to spend $350,000 to aid development of 1107 and 1109 Main St. The approved ordinance also includes a development agreement between the city and developer Main Street Ventures.

“It’s a really good project for downtown Wheeling development and I’m excited about the potential,” Mayor Glenn Elliott said. “I recognize it would be nice if the private sector could do these projects without any assistance, but we’re just not there yet for buildings this vintage and of this age.”

In 2016, the previous City Council purchased the two unused properties for about $200,000 as part of a promise in conjunction with construction of The Health Plan. The current council later decided to redevelop the properties, rather than demolish them, and considered plans from other developers who ultimately backed out.

Since December, Wheeling has worked with developers Gabe Hays and Engin Guler of Main Street Ventures to hash out a plan for redeveloping the properties. The developers plan to spend $1.29 million on the project, according to the development agreement.

Of the $350,000 the city will contribute to the project, $300,000 was previously set aside in 2016, Elliott said. The money will come through the city’s general fund through cash carryover allowances.

“It’s been structured in a way so city funds are only put forward when certain benchmarks are met,” Elliott said. “Our main goal will be to put new roofs on the structures and activate the upper floors by assisting in the development of a rear stairwell that will also activate the upper floors for 1111 Main St.”

Per the agreement, Laura Mull, the owner of 1111 Main St, will contribute $20,000 to the project. Elliott said the goal of the overall project is that, within several years, all floors of all three buildings will be activated.

The developers intend to add a coffee shop at 1109 Main St. and a sit-down restaurant with an added deck area at 1107. The upper floors will be used for apartments.

Other work outlined in the development agreement includes waterproofing, abatement, front facade work and stair construction, according to the document. End dates for the project’s various components range from six months to five years.

Elliott also noted that council determined tearing down the buildings was not feasible. Tearing down 1109 would hinder the structural integrity of 1111, and tearing down 1107 would leave an 18-foot wide piece of property that likely wouldn’t be developed, he said.

Councilwoman Wendy Scatterday said the development will increase tax revenue, create jobs, fill dead space and increase quality of life downtown. Councilman Dave Palmer added that council was transparent with the process.

“These deals were not made behind closed doors and they are available for public viewing,” he said.

Also at the meeting, council voted to table measures to change several loading zones on Main and Market Street to parking meter zones. Scatterday said the city needs to first receive input on how the changes would work with the city’s upcoming streetscaping project.

Council voted 5-1 to expand the time limit on parking meters in front of Sarah’s On Main, 2122 Main St., to two hours instead of one hour. Palmer voted against the measure and Scatterday abstained.

In addition, council approved water distribution projects totaling $350,710.

During the meeting’s public comment period, resident John Harvey called for City Manager Robert Herron to resign and for council to remove him if he does not. Herron was indefinitely suspended without pay March 11 after he was arrested for aggravated DUI the weekend prior. His position has been taken over by acting City Manager Larry Helms, who also serves as the chief of the city’s fire department.

At the end of the meeting, council met in executive session for about 25 minutes to discuss personnel matters. Elliott said no decisions were made but announced council will hold a special meeting Thursday at 5 p.m. in its chambers at the City-County Building, 1500 Chapline St.

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