The former Wheeling Corrugating plant has its first tenant, a Tulsa, Okla.-based pipeline company that will be installing a 40-plus-mile section of pipeline from just north of Washington, Pa., across the Northern Panhandle to Ohio, bringing hundreds of jobs to the region.
Sheehan Pipeline, a union contractor, will use the site as a staging area, with trailers for its administrative offices and doctors as well as equipment storage.
Though its lease hasn't been finalized, Sheehan is already preparing the property - removing tons of rock and laying down some 5,000 tons of base material. Local authorities are working to provide water, sewage and electric service on an expedited basis.
About a month from now, the company will be hiring between 400 and 500 union laborers, Teamsters, operating engineers and welders, fitters, journeymen and helpers, at least half of them local, officials said.
"It will be their base point in the Northern Panhandle," said Pat Ford, executive director of the Business Development Corp. of the Northern Panhandle. "They've been looking for months for a site to set up operations - administrative offices, doctors' offices, an equipment area ... it's almost going to be like a small town."
The BDC acquired the former industrial property in November, purchasing the roughly 650-acre site for $200,000.
The BDC is teaming with Los Angeles-based Hackman Capital, which owns the equipment, to market the property.
While Sheehan's work in the area is temporary - around eight months, unless it picks up additional jobs - when Sheehan leaves, the site will be tenant-ready.
"We'll put in the stone, base rock and cap rock, and when we leave, our agreement with the BDC is that we won't pull that up," said Sheehan's Jim Lovell, crediting the BDC for its efforts. "We'll leave that for the next tenant. So we're taking raw ground and developing it for future use for the organization."
Beech Bottom Mayor George Lewis said the deal is huge "for all of Brooke County, and for the village itself."
"At one time we counted, 53 percent of the village was retired," Lewis said. "With what they'll be bringing in (business and occupation) taxes and jobs for the young people we do have here, it's going to be a shot in the arm."