Flatiron Building Renovation Almost Complete in Downtown Wheeling
WHEELING — Loft apartments featuring safes once used by the Wheeling Steel & Iron Co. to store cash will open soon at the south end of downtown, as Kevin Duffin’s extensive renovation of Main Street’s triangular Flatiron Building is nearly complete.
The fun also will spill out into Nailers Way (formerly known as South Street), as “The Flatiron” will feature an outdoor seating area for its craft beer, wine, coffee, bakery and deli operations.
“We’re just glad to be part of the successful change and transition of downtown Wheeling,” said Duffin.
“Kevin Duffin deserves tremendous credit for renovating this historic building,” said Steve Cohen, who is leasing the first floor of the building from Duffin to run “The Flatiron.” “It is exciting what he has done at this building.”
Duffin declined to say how much he has invested in the triangular structure. However, extensive window and facade upgrades are obvious.
Duffin also said the building features new electrical wiring and fire suppression equipment, among many other improvements.
The building — which Duffin said opened in the early 1900s — sat vacant for several years before Duffin’s September 2014 purchase.
According to records in the Ohio County Clerk’s Office, he paid $105,000 for the five-floor structure at that time.
The unique Flatiron Building is just up the street from the 73-unit Boury Lofts complex. Duffin said building seven loft apartments on the upper floors of his structure made sense because of the demand for downtown housing.
“We just always liked the building,” he said. “When it became available, we decided to take a chance.
“Originally, I wanted to see it become a a comedy club, but that didn’t pan out,” said Duffin. “The next best thing was to do apartments upstairs with some retail on the first floor.”
There is one apartment on the second floor, while there are two on each of the third, fourth and fifth floors. The units feature hardwood floors, marble counters and appliances, as well as unique safes.
“As I have been told, Wheeling Steel would get paid in cash,” said Duffin. “They built these interior safes. We decided to keep them. They have big, heavy doors.”
As for the downstairs area, the Wheeling Traffic Commission in August approved Duffin’s request to extend outdoor seating for the food and beverage area into the street.
“The city has been great to work with,” said Cohen. “We want to do a lot of things to make the business customer-friendly.”
Duffin said he has no plans to renovate more downtown Wheeling buildings, but said he is glad to be part of the regrowth.