While some may think of The Highlands as just a place to eat and shop, more offices are opening there, including those related to medicine.
The latest planned facility is a walk-in medical office owned by Ohio Valley Medical Center. The office will be situated in space located near the Panera Bread building that for a short time was occupied by Crone's Clothiers.
"Dr. Max West and other medical practitioners will be providing primary care services," said Michael Caruso, president and chief executive officer of Ohio Valley Health Services and Education Corp., which is OVMC's parent company.
According to the West Virginia Health Care Authority, OVMC's capital expenditure for the project, known as an ambulatory health care facility, is $100,000. Tim McCormick, Ohio County Development Authority member and county commissioner, said over the years more medical and health insurance-type facilities have located to The Highlands. For example, last year Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield moved its downtown Wheeling operation to the site. Circulatory Centers of West Virginia and Dr. Jerry Hahn's dermatology opened there also. While not everyone uses such facilities, it still increases traffic and potential new shoppers to the area.
"There's a lot of medical folks up there. Dr. Hahn's office brings 50 to 150 people every day. ... These bring people up there," McCormick said of the offices. "One helps out the other up there."
McCormick said West and another doctor already are working out of a trailer at the site until the build-out of the office space is completed by OCDA's maintenance workers.
"We're always looking for quality tenants and we're diversifying the tenants we have there," he added.
Spokeswoman Laurie Labishak said OVMC recognized the growth at The Highlands and "the need for convenient access to quality health care."
"This is why we have decided to open a center to provide primary care services to that area. Our new center will provide primary care physicians available both day and evening hours," Labishak said, noting the permanent location is expected to open in April.
"There will be at least three providers. Our intent is to meet the need in the community and we will add additional providers as this need increases. We are looking forward to working with the businesses located at The Highlands and providing employee wellness needs as well as primary care," she added.
OVMC had been operating a medical clinic at the St. Clairsville Walmart, but it since has closed.