Wheeling Heritage and the Town of Wheeling are seeking to sell the Blue Church in East Wheeling, as well as other properties on Market Street, to interested developers.
The entities have opened the Request for Proposals (RFP) process for The Blue Church, located at 1206 Byron St., and four properties located on the 1400 block of Market Street.
Both properties are located in historic neighborhoods, which makes them eligible for both historic state and federal tax credits, as well as other financial incentives, explained Alex Panas, head of the federal government. communications for Wheeling Heritage.
Proposals will be accepted until October 29, with the goal of selecting developers by January.
“We recognize that while these buildings have great historical value, funding projects of this scale can be intimidating for some developers,” said Betsy Sweeny, director of heritage programming for Wheeling Heritage. “With a historic 20% federal and 25% state tax credit, larger projects like these can become much more manageable. “
Built in 1837, the Blue Church is one of the few pre-Civil War buildings in Wheeling and one of the oldest in the community. Wheeling Heritage acquired The Blue Church in 2013 and made significant improvements to the building, including a new roof, gutters and masonry repairs. The organization promoted the old church as a great place to engage the community.
The city purchased properties at 1437, 1433, 1429 and 1426 Market Street in 2015 and 2016. The buildings’ distinct architectural styles and historic fabric, along with their prime location in the historic downtown district, make them candidates of choice for redevelopment.
In 2019, the city was ready to transfer the properties to an interested developer, but the pandemic ended the deal, Panas said.
Wheeling officials are optimistic about the right developer to take on the project.
“We need to view these buildings as non-renewable resources and think extensively in terms of adaptive reuse projects to save them,” said Wheeling Mayor Glenn Elliott. “The city is ready to work with any developer willing to look beyond the current state of these buildings and see them for their full redevelopment potential. “
Wheeling Heritage has also received funding to continue its preservation and rehabilitation work in the city. The group received a Paul Bruhn Historic Revitalization Grant of $ 750,000 from the National Park Service to support the preservation of historic buildings in Wheeling. The organization will use the funds to establish a Historic Revitalization Sub-Grants Program that will provide funds for rehabilitation and restoration projects to contributing structures in the 12 Historic Wheeling Districts.
Wheeling Heritage is expected to start accepting applications in fall 2022 and intends to award all funds within 36 months of the start of the program.