Council member: Developers interested in Charles Town

March 08, 2005|by DAVE McMILLION

CHARLES TOWN, W.Va. - Four developers have talked to Charles Town officials about building condominiums on the western edge of the city as part of a plan to redevelop old commercial areas in Charles Town, a Charles Town City Council member said Monday night.

The developers are interested in building "high end" condominiums on the site of an old Dixie Narco parking lot and a city public works parking lot, said Matt Ward.

The properties can be accessed off West Street.

The developers also are talking about developing park facilities that would parallel Evitt's Run, a stream that runs through the area, Ward said.


Ward talked about the interest in developing the property during a Charles Town City Council meeting.

After the meeting, Ward said city officials have had preliminary discussions with "local, regional and national" developers who are interested in building downtown.

Mayor Randy Hilton said developers have talked with him, council member Geraldine Willingham, Ward and another city official.

Ward said "serious discussions" have been held with developers about building commercial office space in the old commercial area that is closer to the center of downtown.

Council member Randy Breeden, whose ward covers the western part of town, said residents in the area need to be informed on what could happen.

"The people in that ward need to have a say in that," Breeden said.

Hilton stressed that nothing has been finalized. "We're just thinking what could happen," Hilton said.

Willingham said public hearings would have to be held on any proposals and Ward said no decisions would be made without council approval.

Council members also talked about building a skateboard park in the same area where the condominiums would be built. Council members do not want to move too fast in picking a site for the skateboard park in fear it could hinder a plan to move forward on the condominium proposal, Ward said.

The cities of Charles Town and Ranson have been working on a plan to redevelop an area of approximately 100 acres that includes empty buildings, a 7 acre parking lot, a reservoir, an old scrap yard and former granaries.

The project would blend a number of efforts, such as building office space and a technology center to attract high-tech businesses, development of a retail and movie complex near the intersection of George and North streets, adding more housing downtown as well as recreation areas.

Development officials who have reviewed the plan say additional housing is critical for the redevelopment effort because having more housing downtown will bring customers to area retailers.

Having people downtown 24 hours a day means more people walking around town, eating at restaurants and shopping, development experts have said.

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