Wheeling City Council's Development Committee took action Thursday to pave the way for two projects in the city, including a new pub-style establishment near Centre Market and a rebuilt Progressive Bank branch in Warwood.
The committee, which includes Mayor Andy McKenzie, Vice Mayor Eugene Fahey and Councilwoman Gloria Delbrugge, voted unanimously to recommend the full City Council declare the former Saseen's Restaurant building a redevelopment site. The longtime Centre Market fixture closed last year, but in its place city residents Christopher and Sarah Dean want to open a new establishment that would serve craft and specialty beers both on tap and for carryout.
They also want to rent the building's upper floors as apartments.
Because the property, located at 2149 Market St., is within 1,000 feet of both a church and another establishment with an Alcohol Beverage Control Administration license, the Deans need City Council to declare it a redevelopment site to move forward. City code also forbids ABCA licensees within 1,000 feet of a residence, school or city park unless council approves a redevelopment site designation.
Christopher Dean said the idea is to introduce people to beers they "have never heard of, never tried, never opened their mind to." The pub also would offer a selection of appetizers, and the carryout side would allow patrons to "build their own six-pack" with a variety of beers.
Their goal, he said, is not to generate a large crowd but to provide an intimate atmosphere, perhaps with the addition of "beer tasting" events at some point. Although their ABCA license would allow them to pursue limited video lottery machines, the Deans said that's not part of their business plan at this point.
"They don't fit the atmosphere and structure of Centre Market," Christopher Dean said of LVL machines. "But we want to be able to leave that option open to ourselves."
The building's second floor would be divided into two units, with one larger apartment occupying the entire third floor. The Deans plan to renovate the building's facade to make it more consistent with the historic feel of the Centre Market area, and the upstairs apartments will be designed in a similar manner.
"It reminds you of what you would have lived in in 1920," Christopher Dean said of their concept for the apartments.
He also believes a similar approach would work well with other buildings in the Centre Market area.
"Most of those buildings, the upstairs ... they would be amazing apartments and they would attract a higher clientele if they were remodeled properly," Dean said.
The committee also voted unanimously to recommend the city abandon a portion of an alley behind Progressive Bank's Warwood branch so the bank can demolish the existing building and replace it with a new structure.
The alley, known as Lotus Lane, is located where the bank plans to put the drive-through on its new building. A conceptual drawing depicts a more modern design than the existing building, located at 1701 Warwood Avenue.
The new building would be lower to the ground but wider than the current building, and set back toward the rear of the lot.
Assistant Director of Economic and Community Development Tom Connelly said Progressive still will need to obtain variances from the Board of Zoning Appeals and have the Planning Commission approve its site plan before proceeding with the project.