City of Wheeling Moving Forward With New Parking Structure

Photo by Alex Meyer The parking lots at 1145 Market St. and 1145 Main St., where the City of Wheeling hopes to build a new parking structure across from the former Wheeling-Pittsburgh Steel building. The structure is expected to cost $22,000 per parking space.

WHEELING — The city is moving forward with its plans to construct a new parking garage structure downtown that would accompany the rehabilitation of the former Wheeling-Pittsburgh Steel building.

The city completed interviews with six architectural and engineering firms with proposals for such a structure this week, City Manager Robert Herron said. The structure is expected to cost $22,000 per parking space, though the number of spaces is yet to be finalized, he said.

The structure would be built on current parking lots between 1145 Main St. and 1145 Market St., across from the former Wheeling-Pittsburgh Steel building.

Coon Restoration and Sealants hopes to start construction work on rehabilitating that building into an apartment complex with 116 residential units sometime this year.

That project, in addition to potential plans to construct a public safety building downtown, is one of the city’s major priorities, Herron said.

“In order to do both projects, we need to add additional parking spaces in that area of the city and the city has been in active negotiation with the property owners,” he said. “We have not finalized those negotiations, so that is an ongoing process,

Herron said the six proposals the city heard from design firms were all “very good” and had different ideas on how to develop the site. The city recommended that the structure include at least 4,500 square feet for retail space and be designed to fit in with Wheeling’s skyline.

The overall cost of the project will depend on the number of spaces, Herron said, and funding for the project is “still a work in progress.” For the project to move forward further, city council will have to approve agreements with the lots’ property owners and with a design firm, he said.

The whole process is contingent upon developing the former Wheeling-Pittsburgh Steel building, Herron added.

City officials have stated that they hope to begin construction work on rehabilitating the 12-story building this year. The developer has plans to invest about $30 million into the building.

In addition, officials are still discussing ways to build a public safety building that would include facilities for the city’s fire and police departments. A levy to build a such a facility failed to get the 60 percent of the vote it needed to pass in the November 2018 election.

“If you look at the potential investment both from the city and from private sector, you’re looking at an additional $70 million,” Herron said of the city’s several planned projects. “We’re hopeful that all that will come to fruition.”

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