PARKERSBURG, W.Va. — Construction will start next year on the housing and hotel components of a multi-million-dollar development atop Fort Boreman Hill, the developer said on Tuesday.
“We’re talking to a couple of contractors right now,” said Pat Minnite Sr. of the PM Company.
The PM Company will develop the 175 acres of land purchased by Minnite Family LLC last month from MARMAC LLC. MARMAC for years has held the property where past plans included a civic center, an armory for the West Virginia Army National Guard and most recently a baseball park affiliated with the Frontier Baseball League.
The baseball complex isn’t part of the plans for the development which includes condominiums, multi-family and single-family homes, commercial and retail establishments, an extended-stay hotel and facilities for senior citizens needing different levels of health care, Minnite said.
“Nothing there would really tie into the ballfield, except the hotel,” said Minnite.
That it is not a revelation, according to Sam Winans, a chairman of the Wood County Development Authority Parkersburg Baseball Study Committee. The committee, while hoping the baseball complex was still in the game, knew Minnite was looking at other commercial and residential uses for the land, he said.
Fort Boreman, Lees Hill and the Sixth Street area by the railroad tracks in downtown Parkersburg were the three prime sites being studied for the ballpark. The baseball committee on Friday will discuss the second phase of the feasibility study, Winans said. The study is being done by AECOM Technical Services of Chicago.
“We’ve looked at so many,” Winans said of the other possibilities, but developable land must be adjacent, Winans said. Other sites considered included the Park Shopping Center and Johns Manville in Vienna, Winans said. The city of Vienna this summer negotiated the purchase of the former Manville industrial site and plans a recreational area.
The project will fill a housing need in the community, Mayor Bob Newell said.
“I love baseball,” Newell said, “but we need housing.”
Minnite, who has developed numerous projects in the region, estimated the value of the Fort Boreman development of from $35 million to $50 million, which includes the brick and mortar construction and streets and other infrastructure.
Most of the property, about 80 percent of it, is within the city of Parkersburg, which will provide several Business and Occupation tax breaks, he said, and is next to a four-lane highway from the new U.S. 50 that leads to Fort Boreman Historical Park.
The first parts of the project to go under construction in 2015 will be the homes and hotel, Minnite said. A hotel franchise has not been determined, he said.
“We’re working on that right now,” he said.
However, Minnite is certain the development will incorporate the historical significance of the hill and the name “Fort Boreman.”
“We do want to use the Fort Boreman name,” he said.
Originally called Mount Logan, Fort Boreman was the site of a Union artillery battery overlooking the Ohio River during the Civil War. The hill was renamed after the first governor of West Virginia, Arthur I. Boreman of Parkersburg. Cavalry units also camped on Mount Logan.
The property was sold to Minnite Family LLC for $3.86 million. MARMAC made the initial contact earlier this year, Minnite said.
“Before you know it, we had a deal,” Minnite said.