City of Wheeling Plans To Create TIF District Around Wheeling-Pitt Lofts

WHEELING — City leaders in Wheeling not only plan to construct a new parking garage to support development of the proposed Historic Wheeling-Pitt Lofts, they also intend to create a new Tax Increment Financing District at the downtown site.

Developer Steve Coon, building owner Dr. John Johnson and the city announced earlier this month plans to turn the former Wheeling-Pittsburgh Steel headquarters at 1134 Market St. into apartments. City Council then authorized Mills Group to start design work on a new parking structure at the corner of 11th and Market streets.

According to the memorandum of understanding between the city and Historic Wheeling-Pitt Lofts LLC, the city will create a new TIF district to encompass the building.

A TIF district uses growth in property taxes within a certain area to help finance improvements within that district.

Wheeling City Manager Robert Herron said the Wheeling-Pitt building is currently not in the city’s downtown TIF district.

“Investment generated by this project would create an increment that could be invested back into the Lofts project,” he said.

The estimated investment by the developers for this project is $32 million, which involves redevelopment of the 12-story building into more than 100 market rate apartments.

“Fifteen years or so ago, the footprint of the Wheeling-Pitt building was cut out of our downtown TIF district, and we have to put it back in to make this work,” Mayor Glenn Elliott said, while mentioning the new TIF also would include some buildings to the north of the Wheeling-Pitt building.

With the city’s commitment to building a new parking garage, the memorandum stipulates that the city “shall own in fee simple” all lots north of the future hotel site with addresses of 1000, 1102, 1104, 1110, 1114, 1118 and 1122 Market Street. The city intends to demolish structures on these lots to build the new parking garage with a minimum of 300 parking spaces — 150 of which will be used by lofts tenants and occupants. The city will maintain the right to incorporate commercial and public uses within the structure.

These lots together account for approximately 27,000 square feet of space at the corner of 11th and Market streets.

Vacant commercial buildings on these Market Street lots include the former Chase Bank building and the former Chris Miller Furniture building. Coon previously mentioned that they were in the process of purchasing the adjacent building to the north, which most recently housed a Subway restaurant, in order to allow ADA access into the Historic Wheeling-Pitt Lofts from the north side of the building without disrupting the historic front face of the city’s tallest building.

The mayor indicated that the parking structure will be designed to blend in to the aesthetics of this area of the downtown, which is undergoing major investments. In addition to the Wheeling-Pitt lofts venture, the entire downtown will be undergoing a transformation through the long-awaited Downtown Streetscape Project, which in total equates to an investment of more than $30 million. Other private investments — from the new Health Plan facility to the revitalized building facades and redeveloped 11th Street Plaza — have also brought major upgrades to the appearance of urban blocks in the heart of the city.

“We want this project to be something that not only doesn’t detract from the downtown look but accentuates it and also includes some first-floor retail, which we all agree is a good thing,” Elliott said of the new parking structure. “We’re very, very excited to see these projects moving forward after several years.”


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