Developer to continue job at Manville site

VIENNA – Despite the sale of the property at the sheriff’s delinquent tax auction, the owner of the former Johns Manville plant said demolition and reclamation of the site are proceeding.

The 33-acre Johns Manville site was purchased Thursday during a delinquent property auction at the Judge Black Courthouse Annex. But the site’s owner, Bob Childers, a Huntington developer and owner of Structure Resources Inc. and Childers Properties, said nothing has changed.

“They are people making interest on taxes I chose not to pay at this time,” he said.

The Johns Manville plant operated for almost 100 years. The plant opened in 1908 as a Vitrolite glass factory that began production in 1908 as the Meyercord-Carter Co.

It became a Johns Manville plant in 1952 and operated until 2006 as a manufacturer and marketer of building insulation, commercial roofing, roof insulation and specialty products for commercial, industrial and residential applications.

Childers bought the property in July 2011 with the aim to tear it down, recycle the scrap and develop the property for use. Childers specializes in brownfield projects involving cleaning properties that might have had potentially hazardous chemicals on the land.

Representatives of the sheriff’s tax office said Jimmy Harper Construction Thursday purchased 14 parcels within the Johns Manville property.

The parcels were auctioned in the county’s sale of properties with delinquent taxes.

Structure Resources Inc. has 18 months to meet the properties’ financial obligations.

If Childers fails to redeem Harper can apply for the deed, tax officials said.

The city of Vienna was among the bidders to purchase some of the parcels. Last week council held a special meeting setting aside $45,000 to spend at the tax sale to purchase property in Wood County.

Vienna Mayor Randy Rapp said city officials were seeking to purchase parcels of land to link 28th Street to River Road.

“We didn’t get a chance,” he said. “We were outbid.”

“It is a good thing for economic development,” Rapp said. ” It is one of our main intersections and it would do a lot for economic growth.”

Childers said the yield of scrap has been less than projections. Eaves Recycling, a Huntington company, has the rights to the scrap.

Its work has been hindered by asbestos removal and the Department of Environmental Protection.

“It is a hard-hitting project,” Childers said.

Childers said work continues and the project is moving toward completion. Childers said operators project having the steel down to the concrete by early next year. Environmental studies also are being done.

“People should be on-site this month to do the studies,” Childers said. “We are working with the state DEP on it.”

Childers expects the site to fall in line with his other Brownfield sites.

“We do the study and find there is nothing to prevent us from developing the site. We get the certification and off we go.”

Childers also said there is interest in the site.

Rapp said he’s spoken with Childers. The mayor remains confident the site will continue to be cleaned up and ready for redevelopment.

“I don’t think they will meet the time schedule, but I am confident they will get it cleaned up,” Rapp said. “We would like to see if cleaned up because it is in the center of town.”

Childers has high hopes for the property.

“When we are finished, I hope we can redevelop it as an asset for Vienna and the neighborhood,” Childers said.