WHEELING, W.Va. — One of downtown Wheeling’s most recognizable structures that has been vacant for years has new owners and, quite possibly, a new future.
The triangular structure at Main and South streets next to the Robert C. Byrd Intermodal Center, known as the Flatiron Building, officially sold Monday after years on the market.
The purchase price was $105,000, according to a deed transfer recorded Monday at the Ohio County Clerk’s Office.
The building’s new owner, Kevin Duffin, is a businessman who owns several gas stations around the Upper Ohio Valley, but he said developing the Flatiron Building will be completely separate business venture he is undertaking with his wife, Patricia.
“It’s something we’ve always looked at,” Duffin said. “It’s kind of an iconic building.”
The building’s history is nearly as distinctive as its look. The structure was built in the early 1900s for the former Wheeling Steel & Iron Co. – the forerunner of Wheeling-Pittsburgh Steel – and actually served a short stint as Wheeling’s municipal building while the present-day City-County Building was under construction.
Duffin said they’ve been approached by people with various ideas for the building, from a comedy club to a wine shop. Loft-style apartments are likely to be in the mix for the building, he said, but added it’s too early to make any definitive announcements.
One of the biggest drawbacks to housing development in downtown Wheeling is parking availability, but that wouldn’t be a problem at the Flatiron Building with the intermodal center right next door and the WesBanco Arena lot across South Street.
Though structurally sound, the building will need plenty of work, Duffin acknowledged.
Mayor Andy McKenzie, noting Glenn Elliott’s recent purchase of the Professional Building on Market Street, said he’s always excited to see people who see the potential that exists in downtown Wheeling.
“It’s always good to see buildings being bought and sold,” McKenzie said. “It’s a positive, people investing in property downtown.”