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Rear of Downtown Wheeling Building to be Razed By End of September

Photo by Casey Junkins Wheeling City Manager Robert Herron said the rear of this damaged city-owned structure at 1429 Market St. should be demolished by the end of September.

WHEELING — More than two months after bricks fell from the rear of the city-owned structure at 1429 Market St., the building remains in place with the back wall bulging out into the alley.

Last month, Wheeling City Council devoted $300,000 in cash carryover funding for structural improvements at six downtown buildings the city owns, including the one at 1429 Market St. However, they also earmarked up to $30,000 to demolish the damaged rear portion of this building, along with another $12,000 for an asbestos abatement.

City Manager Robert Herron said Wednesday the demolition contract with Edgco is only $25,000. He said work should begin within a few weeks, with the goal of removing the damaged area by the end of September.

“We want to keep that alley blocked off. We would prefer that people not walk back there,” Herron said of the area, where barricades are in place to prevent pedestrians and motorists from entering.

Several firefighters responded to the scene on June 5 when the bricks fell from the building, although no injuries were reported. Herron said officials do not believe a collapse is imminent.

Mayor Glenn Elliott and Vice Mayor Chad Thalman have emphasized the city’s desire to preserve the main portion of this structure that faces Market Street, as well as the adjacent city-owned buildings at 1425, 1433 and 1437 Market St. The $300,000 worth of improvements will take place at these buildings, in addition to those the city owns at 1107 and 1109 Main St.

Elliott said the Market Street buildings have significant water damage, but are worth saving. Thalman said the ultimate hope is that a single developer would purchase all four. Three are vacant, while the Market Street News adult entertainment store remains at 1437 Market St.

A lease which called for this business to pay the city $2,275 worth of rent per month ended in April. However, Herron and Thalman said the business is now on a month-to-month extension of this lease pending a redevelopment plan for the buildings.

Meanwhile, on the east side of Market Street, city leaders recently voted to use $40,000 to demolish the former Kirk’s Art Supplies building, next to West Virginia Independence Hall.

From the hall’s third floor windows, the failing roof at Kirk’s is clearly visible.

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