RIPLEY, W.Va. — The Jackson County Development Authority is taking over the former Stella-Jones building after the company decided to gift it to the community for local use.
The $1.2 million building has sat idle since the company closed the Jackson County facility near the Fairplain/Ripley interchange of Interstate 77 in 2010 after relocating administrative and sales offices to Pittsburgh, said Mark Whitley, Jackson County development director.
“This facility has been sitting empty and they were asked to donate it to the community,” he said. “It is a beautiful facility. “(Being just off of I-77) it has great visibility.”
The building, which has a log-home design, was built in 2008.
Stella-Jones is a North American manufacturer of pressure-treated wood products. The company’s core product categories, railway ties and utility poles, provide basic elements of the economy’s physical infrastructure, according to the company’s website.
In addition to the Jackson County Development Authority, the Jackson County Chamber of Commerce will also locate to the new 13,800-square-foot facility situated on two acres as the two groups have been sharing office space and administrative services, Whitley said.
“We are going to start inquiries into leasing the rest of the space,” he said. “We feel it could be used as an incubator for a couple of start-up businesses, businesses that need somewhere where they can get started, build themselves up and then be able to move elsewhere.”
Such businesses could include lawyers and accountants.
“It is a state-of-the-art facility,” Whitley said.
It has a conference room that can be used by non-profit groups for functions, including the Boy Scouts of America and the Community Foundations.
“This facility really showcases Jackson County,” Whitley said.
The development authority is expected to move into the facility within the next few weeks, Whitley said.
The authority owns 104 Miller Drive and will look at options to lease that building.
“We want to do what is best for the community,” Whitley said.