PARKERSBURG, W.Va. — The West Virginia University at Parkersburg Board of Governors approved the sale Wednesday of two properties that make up part of the school’s former Downtown Center on Market Street.
The board approved the sale of 707 Market St. and 709 Market St. to the Parkersburg Brewing Company and the Mid-Ohio Valley Area Development Corporation (also identified as the Mid-Ohio Valley Regional Council), respectively. Both organizations were the only bidders on the individual properties, officials said.
The property at 707 Market St. sold for $251,001, excluding contents, while the property at 709 Market St. sold for $210,500.
“This money will go into a fund which is really controlled by the (West Virginia) Community and Technical College System,” said West Virginia University at Parkersburg President Fletcher Lamkin. “It is supposed to be used exclusively for capital improvements.
“So basically, we have to request them to release certain amounts of these funds for capital improvements we would like to make,” he said.
WVU-P has improvements that need to be made, Lamkin said.
“We have more than enough maintenance issues and capital issues that it would cover this,” he said. “What we will do is as soon as that money goes into that fund, we have some top priority maintenance requests we are going to put in for.
“We have boilers that need to be replaced, roofs that need to be replaced and basic things we need to pick up on. That is what we intend to do with this if they say ‘yes,”‘ he said.
Senta Goudy, WVU-P vice president of institutional advancement, said there is still a section of the building up for sale.
“The property at 705 Market St. is still available,” she said. “It is the smallest property.”
The asking price for that piece is $70,000. It is around 6,000 square feet.
The two portions sold amount to around 36,000 square feet of space, Goudy said.
The section at 707 Market St. had housed the school’s Culinary Academy. The Parkersburg Brewing Company, a small locally owned micro brewing company, is planning to use the space for a brewery and wholesale and retail sales outlet.
The Mid-Ohio Valley Regional Council is planning to use the space at 709 Market St. to relocate its offices there from 531 Market St., where it has run out of room. The move will also allow the regional council to expand services to the region from that location.
Eight parking spaces behind 709 Market St., off an alley, were included, Goudy said, adding the parking lot at Seventh and Juliana streets is not for sale.
In early November, the university began seeking offers on the Downtown Center property, which is in the old W.T. Grant building.
The sale of the property was a result of the site not generating the program content and student interest to sustain the facility, which was costing the university around $100,000 a year to maintain, officials said. Earlier this year college officials suspended the culinary program.
The building, which was built in 1931, was donated to WVU-P in 2008 by The Erickson Foundation. The building underwent renovations and housed the school’s Culinary Academy for a year and a half.
“We tried to come up with a use for that property for the college, but it was too expensive for us to maintain and operate,” Lamkin said. “However, we did leave the building in a whole lot better shape than it was when we first received this gift.
“We did a lot of upgrades and maintenance on it.”
“I think both of the enterprises that are going in there will be an enhancement for the downtown area,” Lamkin said.
“It also makes it more attractive for the third and final section of the building to be sold,” he said.