PARKERSBURG - Officials are working on a deal to relocate a downtown social services center to build a 100-room hotel and free-standing restaurant.
Parkersburg Mayor Bob Newell and Jeff Campbell, president-elect of the board of advisers for the Parkersburg Salvation Army, both said a deal is in the works to relocate the Salvation Army and prepare the site for developers to create a hotel and restaurant.
Newell said MPH Hotels and the PM Company have expressed interest in developing the Salvation Army's 4.03-acre site along Fifth Street into a 100-room franchise hotel with space for a free-standing restaurant.
Photo by Jeff Baughan
The Salvation Army’s Second Chance Houses are located on Fifth Street in Parkersburg. The site is part of the property being discussed for a 100-room hotel and restaurant.
The city is assisting with the acquisition of the property. Newell said the details are preliminary, but the plan to develop the site is not. The mayor said they've been involved in discussions with developers for more than a year.
"The biggest nut to crack is to find a place for the Salvation Army," Newell said.
Newell said officials are assisting in looking for property. He said there are several options available for the Salvation Army.
Campbell acknowledged the project was in the works. But for anything to happen, he said the Salvation Army must find a new location that is as good, if not better, than its existing site and services.
"Everybody is very understanding of the fact we have to hold or improve our station," he said.
Campbell said Army officials want to emphasize they are committed to making certain those who need their services have good access to them.
"If we can help the city and still maintain our access and services, we are interested in doing that."
"It is early, but there is some serious interest."
Officials are still waiting on the appraisal of the Army's site. Campbell said once officials receive the property's appraisal value and step up their site search, things will kick into gear.
Campbell said once a deal is reached, local Salvation Army officials will still need approval from the regional headquarters.
He said there was tremendous potential and opportunity in the deal.
"The developers are high quality and have done this sort of thing before in and out of the area," Campbell said. "If we put all these parts together, I am fairly optimistic."
Pat Minnite was out of the office Friday. Attempts to contact Kim Wolfe, vice president of sales and marketing for MPH Hotels, were unsuccessful. MPH just opened a Marriott Fairfield Inn and Suites in Marietta.
Newell said the city can also provide incentives, offering $200,000 from CDBG funding to either assist in the relocation of the Salvation Army or to the developers for job creation. Newell said that is something city council will have to decide. He's trying to set up council committee meetings to discuss the agreement prior to the next regular council meeting.
"I want to make sure city council is good with the process," he said.
Newell said officials will review developing the property through the Economic Development Authority to provide a sales tax break to the developers. Officials used a similar tact with the new Highmark West Virginia headquarters.
The city will look at a Tax Increment Financing (TIF) for the property.
"We will all be working together to make this happen," Newell said.