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New Housing Project Eyed at Main Downtown Wheeling Gateway

Photo by Eric Ayres – Officials in the city of Wheeling are working with Woda Cooper Development in hopes to bring a new, four-story apartment complex to downtown Wheeling. The site being eyed for the development is on a city parking lot situated at the primary gateway to downtown Wheeling from the Interstate 70 exit ramp onto Main Street, near the former Marsh Wheeling Stogies building.

WHEELING – City leaders are hopeful a new housing development in downtown Wheeling will move forward and not only impact the economy and improve residential options locally, but also greatly enhance the aesthetics of the main gateway into the heart of the city.

Members of Wheeling City Council this week passed a resolution authorizing City Manager Robert Herron to negotiate the terms and enter into an agreement with Woda Cooper Development LLC for property at 10th and Main streets, where the development of a new apartment complex is being considered.

“This is basically the surface lot on Main Street between 9th and 10th streets downtown, right when you get off the Fort Henry Bridge across the street there,” Wheeling Mayor Glenn Elliott said. “That’s a city-owned lot that we’ve owned for several years.”

Elliott noted that this project has been in the works behind the scenes for quite some time, as city leaders have been in talks with local developer Jeffrey Woda and the Woda Group. Plans for the project just recently have begun to pick up traction and move forward toward becoming a reality.

“To get some context for the project — I know it’s not gotten much attention yet, but it’s been discussed for several years — going back about three years ago, Mr. Woda was looking at the Marsh Stogies building as a potential purchase.”

The original plan that Woda proposed was to purchase the vacant Marsh Wheeling Stogies building — which sits directly across from the Interstate 70 exit onto Main Street at the city’s primary downtown gateway — to tear it down and to build a new housing complex there.

“He asked me what the city thought about that, and I said we always want to welcome new development, but at the time I knew of some other interest in the Marsh property,” Elliott said. “So I recommended looking at the city surface lot right there, which isn’t used that much and which does need some significant investment if it were to stay a parking lot because it looks somewhat unattractive. I suggested that lot as an alternative site so that we could get a new construction project there and potentially the rehab of the Marsh Stogie building separately.”

Elliott said Woda and officials at his company had been looking at this proposal for the lot for a while, and now it is hopeful that the project will be moving ahead.

“It’s taken some time to work through the details, but I think they are in agreement now to build a new, four-story, 40-unit apartment complex on this site,” the mayor noted. “This, to me, is something that would be a really great addition not only to the downtown, but to that gateway area right there.”

As part of the agreement that the city manager is expected to negotiate with the company, terms are expected to stipulate that the two visible sides of the proposed structure — the western side and the northern side — would have facades that will be mostly brick and consistent architecturally with facades of other downtown Wheeling structures.

“This would not be something with vinyl siding or something that would not fit into a downtown environment,” Elliott said. “I think it’s a very exciting development. I look forward to working with them on this project. It’s taken a couple of years to get it here, but I think we’re all going to be very happy about when we see it.”

Woda has brought a number of successful housing developments to Wheeling in recent years, including major developments in the downtown area. Officials indicated that this project would be yet another development that will complement the coming Wheeling Downtown Streetscape project, which is scheduled to begin construction next spring.

“Despite the fact that we remain in a pandemic, it’s very exciting to see an investment to go forward this way,” Elliott said. “I want to thank the Woda company for their considerable investments in the community already. We’ve seen the Boury Lofts and Stone Center Lofts in downtown Wheeling. We’ve seen the Capital Greene project in Elm Grove, the Providence Greene project in North Wheeling, we’ve seen the LaBelle Greene project in Center/South Wheeling and now the Carnegie Greene project in South Wheeling, as well.”

The mayor thanked members of the city council, city manager and members of the city staff for working with Woda to help bring this proposal to the front burner.

“This is a developer that has done a lot of projects in the city of Wheeling, has really created some jobs and tax revenues while providing people housing,” Elliott said. “This is going to be one more project here in the city that I think will be very successful.”

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