WHEELING – Officials in the Town of Wheeling are moving forward with legislation to put in place funding for the construction of the planned Market Street parking garage.
This week, Wheeling City Council members are due to hear a first reading of an ordinance to fund the cost of the new parking lot at the corner of Market and 11th Street through the issuance of rental income bonds from a aggregate principal amount not exceeding $ 19.5 million.
City manager Robert Herron noted that the wording of the bond ordinance includes a maximum amount of funding over the project’s expected cost, which city officials say will likely cost between $ 16 million and $ 17 million.
The new parking structure is being built to accommodate a private investment from Access Infrastructure to create a new apartment complex inside the city’s tallest building, the former headquarters of Wheeling-Pittsburgh Steel on Market Street. That private investment is expected to exceed $ 30 million, and city leaders plan to support retail businesses to follow once tenants start filling historic Wheeling-Pitt lofts.
Part of the new parking structure will be dedicated to tenants of the new loft apartment complex, while additional parking will be available in the six-story structure for visitors to downtown Wheeling. Street-level commercial spaces were incorporated into the design of the city’s new parking structure.
The new ordinance to establish funding for the parking structure also provides for the ownership of 1104 and 1114 Market Street to be transferred from the Ohio Valley Area Development Corporation – the non-profit entity used by the city to facilitate transactions. real estate – to the Wheeling Municipal Building Commission – the newly reinvigorated group that is responsible for leading major construction projects for the city.
A first reading of the new ordinance is expected to take place at Tuesday night’s board meeting, with a second and final reading on the legislation scheduled for the November 2 board meeting.
Before construction begins on the new parking lot, the vacant Chase Bank building on Market Street is expected to be demolished and removed. Raze International of Shadyside has won a contract for $ 475,000 to demolish the building where the new parking lot will stand. Officials said asbestos removal was underway at the site and the building is expected to be razed before the end of the year.
At the most recent municipal council meeting, a citizen spoke out against the involvement of the City in the construction of a new parking lot for private development. Wheeling resident Julia Chaplin asked why Coon Restoration and Sealants – the developer of Dr John Johnson and Access Infrastructure’s Historic Wheeling-Pitt Lofts project – was not paying for the parking garage needed by its tenants.
“Why did they not include in their proposal to build the installation plans for a garage? Chaplin asked city leaders. “Basically we are a city that pays for its garage that will not pay for itself – as the mayor said. As taxpayers, we subsidize this development corporation.
Another ordinance involving tax obligations for a city-owned parking lot is also expected to be introduced on Tuesday. The legislation – described in legal language very similar to the Market Street Parking Garage Project Ordinance – provides for the issuance of rental income bonds in a total principal amount not to exceed $ 3 million. for the Center Wheeling parking garage project.
On Friday, Herron explained that planned improvements to the Center Wheeling parking structure had been underway for some time, and when the Ohio Valley Medical Center was operating, the Tax Increment Financing District around the property had generated a potential pool of over $ 4. million for investment. However, after the ownership of the OVMC changed hands from Alecto to MPT and eventually to the town of Wheeling, the TIF district stopped generating the revenue that would be needed to repay the money if it were used. for parking improvements.
The TIF district is still in place on the OVMC site, and if the buildings are sold to a private developer, additional funding will be generated again, said the city manager.
City leaders continue to seek tenants and potential buyers for vacant buildings on the OVMC campus. A tenant who had maintained the occupation after the city acquired the property last year recently moved, Herron noted. This summer, Northwood Health Systems opened its new, state-of-the-art 28,000 square foot behavioral health clinic adjacent to the company’s administrative offices at the corner of 19th and Wood streets. Herron reported earlier this month that Northwood officially left the space he used at OVMC after moving into his new facility.