WHEELING – City officials appear to be on the verge of making some major moves that could shape the future of downtown Wheeling for years to come.
At its noon meeting today [Dec. 1], city council will hear first reading of three downtown development-related ordinances, including two that directly involve the city-owned property in the 1100 block of Main and Market streets – a project that began about a decade ago under the administration of former Mayor Nick Sparachane.
One measure would authorize the transfer of publicly owned property in the 1100 block of Main and Market streets to the city’s development arm, the Ohio Valley Area Development Corp., for future sale to a developer.
Two other ordinances call for the transfer of $134,000 in tax increment financing revenue to the OVADC for “TIF-related economic development,” and execution of option agreements to purchase four downtown buildings: the Vocelli Pizza and Panda Chinese Kitchen buildings at 1127 and 1133 Market St., respectively, and two vacant buildings at 1107 and 1109 Main St., across from the current city-owned property.
The acquisition of the Vocelli and Panda buildings would give the city something it’s sought for years – control over an unbroken tract of property between the Horne’s building to the north and the parking lot behind the Robinson Law Office building to the south.
The prospect of having to design a project around those buildings has long been seen as a barrier to development of the 1100 block property…
City council began buying up property in the 1100 block in 2007, using tax increment financing revenue. TIF money also was used to demolish the purchased structures – including the G.C. Murphy, Rite Aid, River City Dance Works, Feet First, former Dr. Manny Velez dental office and Howard’s Diamond Center buildings – beginning in 2012.
To date, the city has spent almost $1.8 million to purchase and clear the 1100 block properties…