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Photo of Eric Ayres Thomas Simons, left, senior vice president of Woda Cooper Companies, and Charles Garvick, president of Chadan Engineering, address members of the Wheeling Planning Commission on Monday.

WHEELING – Officials at the Marsh Wheeling Lofts offered by the Woda Cooper companies believe there is a healthy market for residential living in downtown Wheeling that is not at risk of being “oversaturated” by the abundance of projects moving forward .

Thomas Simons, senior vice president of the Woda Cooper Companies, and Charles Garvick, president of Chadan Engineering, appeared before the Wheeling Planning Commission on Monday evening for a site plan review for the Marsh Wheeling Lofts project.

The Woda project aims to build a new four-storey, 46-unit apartment complex on vacant land in block 900 of Main Street.

Planning Commissioner William Schwarz asked if developers are concerned that downtown Wheeling will be ‘saturated’ with residential properties, given that the Historic Wheeling-Pitt Lofts project is also advancing, promising to create 128 new ones. apartments only two. city ​​blocks.

“Do you think we ended up with too many vacant apartments in the city center? Schwarz asked.

“That’s a great question,” Simons said. “Obviously on the lending side we had to do a full market research analysis of the community we’re in. It’s the market rate – it’s not housing for workers like LaBelle Greene. With our waiting list at Boury Lofts, we don’t think there will be a problem, even with the Wheeling-Pitt building if this ends. We are very excited about these units.

The Woda Cooper Companies have spearheaded several successful housing projects in the city in recent years, including the award-winning Boury Lofts property and Stone Center Lofts downtown, as well as several phases of the LaBelle Greene worker housing complexes in South Wheeling and in Providence. Greene Seniors Apartments in North Wheeling.

Simons said they believe there is a strong market for downtown residential living in the friendly city, and Woda is working to fill that void with new apartments.

Planning Committee members inquired about parking for the Marsh Wheeling Lofts, as only five parking spaces were provided for in the plans. Wheeling’s director of construction and planning, Tom Connelly, said downtown residential and commercial buildings do not have to provide off-street parking as they do in other areas of the city. city ​​where zoning requirements differ.

“There is no parking requirement in the downtown area,” Connelly said, noting that parking garages and other public parking areas are available.

“We have an agreement with the town of Wheeling,” said Simons. “We will be renting 40 to 41 parking spaces in the parking garage on 10th Street. We have an agreement to enter into a 10 year lease with four additional extensions over the years for parking in the garage. We are at least 30 years old.

Planning Commission Vice Chairman Jeremy West asked the developers if core samples were taken to verify that the foundations are suitable for this development, noting that there appears to be some settlement on the surface terrain. where the lofts are to be built.

“I never remember a building there,” West said. “As far as I know, it has always been a parking lot. This lot, especially at the entrance, is really starting to flow.

Simons said he did two phases of soil sampling.

“We’ve done the geotechnical report for that already, and there’s backfilling in various places there,” Garvick added. “It’s not deep – maybe two to four feet in some areas – but that will all be sorted out during the construction phase.”

If all goes according to plan, the project is expected to start in July this year and end in September 2022.

Planning Commissioner Jeff Mauck noted that the loft site is located at a busy intersection that will become even busier in the future as work on Interstate 70 continues and the Wheeling Downtown Streetscape Project kicks off. Some commissioners expressed concerns about the availability of a staging area for construction materials and equipment.

“Why did you all choose the name Marsh Wheeling Lofts,” asked Dave Palmer, Wheeling City Councilor and member of the Planning Commission, saying he found it somewhat confusing since the building to the north of the site is there. old Marsh Wheeling Stogie building with the iconic sign still on top.

“We looked at this building years ago,” Simons said, noting that the Woda Group was interested in a rehabilitation project similar to their Boury Lofts development, but that plan did not materialize for a variety of reasons. “We’re not sure the building will still be there. We wanted to make sure that at least the name will be there. It’s just a historical name.

Palmer noted that if anyone wanted to develop the Marsh Wheeling Stogies building, they might be upset that the name had already been taken by a nearby apartment complex.

Nevertheless, the review of the site plan was unanimously approved. Attending an in-person meeting for the first time since last fall, Planning Commission members joked that they almost forgot how to vote electronically in the city council chamber after meeting via Zoom during so many months because of the pandemic.

“I think it will be an improvement to the gateway to our city, especially coming off the bridge,” Mauck said of the Marsh Wheeling Lofts project. “It will dress her very well. Hopefully this will be an inspiration to others in the area who already have businesses and buildings they own. “

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