- Associated Press - Saturday, October 10, 2015

WHEELING, W.Va. (AP) - About 70 more loft apartments will be available in downtown Wheeling a little over a year from now, as the Woda Group will invest about $13 million to convert the former Boury Warehouse at 16th and Main streets.

Officials made the announcement on Oct. 1 on the fifth floor of the historic building that’s been home to, among other things, a grocery company, a biscuit factory and a trucking company in the 120 or so years since it’s been built. The structure, through which trains once traveled to make deliveries, remains one of downtown Wheeling’s most recognizable buildings.

The Boury Lofts development will include a mix of one- and two-bedroom units that will rent for $800 to $1,100 per month, according to Woda Group Inc. President Jeff Woda. Units will occupy all six stories of the building, and could be ready for occupancy by late 2016 or early 2017, according to Woda.

“What a great day for Wheeling,” said Vice Mayor Eugene Fahey.

The Woda Group - which is preparing to welcome its first tenants into the newly renovated Stone Center Lofts on Market Plaza - expects to close soon on its purchase of the nearly 87,000-square-foot building from T.J. and Bonnie Radevski, who also were on hand for the announcement on Oct.1. Initial discussion of the project began more than two years ago, according to Woda.

“I want to thank them very much for their patience in working with me,” Woda said of the Radevskis.

The Regional Economic Development Partnership will master-lease the ground floor of the Boury Lofts as player housing for the Wheeling Nailers, of which RED is part owner. About 63 units on the second through sixth floors will be available to the general public, according to Woda.

Loft tenants will have access to amenities such as a fitness center, TV lounges and a coffee lounge.

Woda said the Boury Lofts announcement would not have been possible without a mix of federal historic and new markets tax credits - of the type that helped RED bring the former Wheeling Stamping Building back to life as Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe’s Global Operations Center. RED was instrumental in helping Woda craft a successful application for those credits, according to Woda.

The Royal Bank of Canada and PNC Bank are financing the project.

Mayor Andy McKenzie said the Boury Lofts represent another step toward resolving a shortage of housing in Wheeling.

He said he often hears that the Wheeling area owes its recent economic growth entirely to the natural gas industry, but he pointed out that the health care sector remains the city’s largest employer. It’s been the jobs created by firms such as Orrick and Williams Lea, as well as the expansion of companies like Sledd Co. and Panhandle Cleaning and Restoration, that have made announcements like Wednesday’s possible, McKenzie believes.

“This is a diversified workforce … and that’s who’s going to be staying in these apartments,” he said.

McKenzie thanked Woda - who has new housing developments planned in Elm Grove and South Wheeling in addition to the Stone Center Lofts downtown and Providence Greene apartments in North Wheeling - for continuing to invest in the city. He also praised City Manager Robert Herron and city council members for working to improve Wheeling.

“They never say no,” McKenzie said. “They say, ‘How can we get it done?’ … Without that type of leadership, these projects don’t happen.”


Information from: The Intelligencer, https://www.theintelligencer.net

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