WHEELING, W.Va. — If you are a recent college graduate looking to start your career, the Stone Center in downtown Wheeling may provide you a place of employment at the Williams Lea document processing firm – and a place to live in the loft apartments now occupying the structure’s top three floors.
“I think it would be great for that,” Wheeling Councilman Robert “Herk” Henry said of that concept while touring the Woda Group’s $2 million housing project after a Friday announcement. “These are really nice.”
The Woda Group already operates the Providence Greene apartments in North Wheeling, while the firm is now working on a $13 million project to convert the former Boury Inc. warehouse at 16th and Main streets into about 70 more loft apartments. Woda is also building 40 units of senior housing in the Elm Grove area.
City officials said the demand for new housing in Wheeling continues growing because firms such as Williams Lea keep expanding, while The Health Plan is now moving its headquarters to the 1100 block of Main and Market streets.
“We’re seeing a lot of substantial investment in Wheeling, particularly in our downtown.” Wheeling Mayor Andy McKenzie said. “Woda’s development at the Stone Center not only complements the progress in that area, but it addresses one of the main requests people make for downtown Wheeling – more housing.”
The apartments come as small as a 667-square-foot unit for $789 per month, up to a 1,200-square-foot loft for $1,399 per month. Jodelle Carder, senior vice president of Woda Management and Real Estate, said these costs include services for water, sewer, garbage collection, parking and security.
“There is no (natural) gas here. The resident pays the electric bill,” she said, adding that parking will be available either at the garage at 10th and Main streets or in the surface lot across Market Street from the Stone Center.
“We are very excited to be on the leading edge of providing high quality, luxury residential housing in downtown Wheeling,” Carder added.
The building once home to the Stone & Thomas department store no longer really has an eighth floor, as Carder and Project Manager Del Hollern said this level became the upstairs of the two-story lofts on the seventh floor. Apartments feature granite countertops, spacious closets and laundry areas, hardwood floors, high ceilings with fans, and skylights for those on the upper level.
The Regional Economic Development Partnership assumed ownership of the structure in the mid-2000s after it sat vacant for a few years after Elder-Beerman, the successor to Stone & Thomas, closed the store in the early part of that decade.
Williams Lea began with a small operation on the main floor in late 2006, before eventually growing to also require the fifth floor of the massive building to conduct its business. Wheeling Jesuit University also utilizes space in the center to house its physical therapy program.
Craig O’Leary, RED Program Director, said this leaves only the second and third floors now open for development.
Looking toward the Ohio River via one of the apartment windows, Carder admired the picturesque view, which includes landmarks such as the Capitol Theatre, the Wheeling Suspension Bridge and the Fort Henry Bridge.
“This will look amazing in the fall when the trees are in in full color,” she said. “Wheeling is a great place for us to be.”
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