PARKERSBURG - A planned showcase of two vacant buildings in downtown Parkersburg is moving forward, but an open house likely won't occur until spring.
Carrie Nesselrode, executive director of Downtown PKB, said officials hope to showcase the buildings as well as the surrounding areas of Market Street to potential investors and developers.
"It is a bit of a moving target right now, but we are hoping to do something in the spring," she said. "Trying to get something done for this fall would be a bit premature."
The Citizen’s Building at 401 Market St. is one of two downtown buildings to be showcased by Downtown PKB.
In April, a group of local officials and professionals from Charleston and Morgantown toured the Dils Building at 521-529 Market St., the Citizen's Building at 401 Market St., the Drake property at 814-816 Market St. and the Campbell Building at 214 Seventh St.
Officials decided to create architectural drawings for both Citizen's and the Drake and the blocks in-between the two structures, to showcase the area's potential use. The project is a cooperative agreement with Downtown PKB and the West Virginia Redevelopment Collaborative.
The intention, Nesselrode said, is to complete a lot of the up-front work for developers to entice them into developing the buildings for housing and retail.
Nesselrode said officials will meet Aug. 14 to discuss the next step in the project. Though that meeting is not open to the public, Nesselrode said an information session for area businesses and community members will be scheduled for late September.
"Ultimately our goal is to not only show off these two buildings, but also other buildings in the downtown area," she said.
The project coincides with two other Downtown PKB projects. Nesselrode said the group and the city of Parkersburg is working to create an online database of downtown facilities, which would include information on space, possible uses, ownership and rental or purchase prices.
Downtown PKB also recently distributed surveys to area businesses and community members concerning what sort of businesses are needed in the downtown area.
"That way if someone comes in looking to develop one of these businesses, we can show them there is interest in these specific sort of businesses," she said. "Often that is the issue we face, that developers want to work on the buildings but they don't want to be running a business. They need to see what sort of businesses would do well locating in those buildings."
Nesselrode said local officials also are working with officials at West Virginia University to create interior designs for the building, area historical officials to determine the best ways to preserve the look of the building exteriors and area banks to work with investors on funding options.