Making Misfortune Into an Opportunity

Once a hub of international business deals, the old Wheeling-Pittsburgh Steel headquarters building now is vacant. Bankruptcy proceedings involving the structure’s owner, RG Steel, have put its future in doubt.

Local economic development leaders should make it a priority to turn the great misfortune of RG Steel’s collapse into an opportunity for downtown Wheeling.

The massive steel company building has been offered for sale through bankruptcy proceedings but, to date, little or no interest seems to have been shown. That is not surprising. Buying the structure, taking care of needed repairs, then investing the money required to “repurpose” it is not a challenge appealing to those without deep pockets.

Investing taxpayers’ money in the structure may well be deemed too speculative a venture.

And questions about what strategy will be used to redevelop downtown Wheeling will affect the building’s attractiveness to investors.

Still, the very size and location of the structure could make it an anchor for redevelopment. Again, making that happen – rather than simply watching the building deteriorate – should be on local officials’ front burner this winter and spring.