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Property Owner Eyes Lot on Market Plaza in Downtown Wheeling

The city of Wheeling is looking to transfer vacant property in Market Plaza to the owner of an adjacent cluster of buildings in the block on the corner of the 11th Street Plaza. (Photo by Eric Ayres)

WHEELING — The city of Wheeling is taking steps to transfer a piece of vacant property in Market Plaza to the owner of neighboring structures.

During a recent meeting of the Development Committee of Wheeling City Council, the committee reviewed a proposal for 1055 Market St. — a site that is currently a vacant lot tucked into the stretch along Market Plaza that decades ago was a bustling retail hub for the Friendly City.

The owner of an adjacent cluster of buildings in Market Plaza and the newly refurbished 11th Street Plaza had submitted a proposal to the city of Wheeling for the lot. Dean Connors owns the commercial buildings at 1057 Market St. and 1061 Market St., as well as the buildings around the corner in that same block at 25-11th St. and 27-11th St.

Connors noted that 1055 Market St. used to be home to another building in the plaza.

“The property we’re speaking about at 1055 is the former home of Nick’s Music, which has fallen down a long time ago,” Connors said. “I’ve been sort of taking care of the property, along with crews from the city when they come through. We generally pick up litter and garbage there, too.”

Presently, the property is an open lot with remnants of the previous building’s foundation, and Connors indicated he would like to transform it into more of an open green space.

“I’m asking for that property from the city,” he said. “I have no plans for a large-scale development. “I would clean it up. I would like to put down some synthetic grass, tables, chairs, umbrellas — just sort of make it a more welcome spot for people to meet, and come and eat their lunch in the plaza.”

Connors indicated his vision for the site would be somewhat of an extension of Market Plaza, just on private property.

“I want to just kind of develop it into like a small ‘parklet’,” I guess,” Connors said. “I don’t believe there’s much room there to build anything. It’s awfully landlocked and awfully small.”

Councilman Dave Palmer, a committee member, questioned if the city had a lien on the property or if there were demolition costs involved back when the property was cleared and the city took ownership.

“There were demolition costs,” Wheeling City Manager Robert Herron noted. “The building fell into the plaza, and the city did demolish the structure. I believe the demolition costs — and this was several years ago — were around $65,000.”

Herron noted that earlier this fall through the end of last month, the city sought formal proposals for potential developers of the site.

“This property was publicly advertised for a request for proposals, as we do on all city properties, and we did receive just one proposal, from Mr. Connors,” Herron said.

Members of the Development Committee of Council unanimously agreed to approve Connors’ proposal.

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