State news, releases and Information

Alliance promotes auction of endangered W.Va. buildings

BECKLEY, W.Va. — The Preservation Alliance of West Virginia is promoting the auction of three buildings formerly slated for demolition in an endangered historic district that may soon become home to a new southern campus for West Virginia University.

The availability of grants and tax credits for historic properties and a renewed local interest in historical development in the district have helped make the buildings viable economic engines, according to Danielle LaPresta, executive director for the alliance.

“We believe this is a superb investment,” LaPresta said.

“The buildings are sound, funding for rehabilitation is available, and the economic outlook for the historic district is good, particularly in light of an investment by the university.”

The city earlier this year denied the owners permission to demolish the structures, and the State Historic Preservation Office warned that such an action could lead to the delisting of the national historic district.

Members of the Downtown Beckley Business Association, which engaged the alliance in its effort to rescue the district, emphasized that delisting would kill grants and tax credits for which properties in the downtown are otherwise eligible.

Association co-chair Jim Chambers, who recently purchased a neighboring landmark, said the business organization is enthused about the auction and the viability of the buildings.

“I can’t say enough about the benefits of investing in the historic district, especially considering the university’s stake,” Chambers said.

“The protective covenants that secure the investment here and the government financial incentives themselves were enough to cause us to buy in the downtown.”

LaPresta said promoting such efforts as the auction fulfills part of the alliance’s mission to protect and preserve West Virginia’s historic resources.

The auction will be held Tuesday, May 12, 2015, from 10-11 a.m., LaPresta said.

The website for the auction is

Questions about grants and tax credits available for these properties may be directed to the alliance at 304-345-6005 or through [email protected].

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