A court-ordered auction is planned for a former downtown bus terminal - a building that West Virginia Northern Community College is interested in possibly purchasing.
The 12,000-square-foot building once served as a Greyhound bus station, but was last used by Electrical Contractors Supply Co., which has been closed for several years. The building is scheduled to be auctioned at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday at the structure, located at 10 18th St. Auctioneer Jim Frio of the Frio Auction Co. said a reserve has been placed on the building.
"We will deal whoever comes there to bid. The worst thing that could happen is that we have to take the high bid to court. The reserve will not be announced. We think it's achievable - if we don't, we will petition the court to get the sale completed," Frio said.
The former Electrical Contractors Supply Co. building on 18th Street is slated to be auctioned Wednesday in Wheeling.
The auction was ordered by Ohio County Circuit Judge David Sims.
"There has been a lot of disagreement among the heirs," Frio said, noting the business had two owners who both have passed away.
"It gets a little personal. ... Now you have two different families with numerous siblings who are not seeing eye to eye," Frio said.
Frio said the building needs a new roof, but it is well constructed. It is situated on 1.9 acres of land. Six auctions were held to liquidate items left inside. A few different companies have expressed interest in the structure, with some looking to raze it and possibly use the land, he said.
Nearby WVNCC was trying to negotiate a sale in the past, but the owners were asking too much, school officials have said. In 2012, the building was listed with Broadwater Properties at an asking price of $750,000.
"It's not in the heart of Wheeling, but it's a good area. It should be attractive to local and regional investors," Frio said. "Most are thinking of the ground and not the building. ... If the school bought it, I think they would save the building."
WVNCC has a history of repurposing old buildings in the downtown. Its headquarters are located in the former B&O railroad station terminal building on 16th Street. A few years ago the college renovated a former grocery warehouse for its Education Center facility. And most recently it repurposed two former Straub car dealership buildings on 16th and Market streets for classroom space and a bookstore.
WVNCC spokesman Robert DeFrancis said the college remains interested in the ECS building.
"We will have an administrator at the auction to possibly bid. He is Stephen Lippiello, vice president of administrative services/chief financial officer," DeFrancis said.