top of page

River Roots Redevelopment: Adaptive Reuse - Future Projects

Wrapping up our series on adaptive reuse in redevelopment, this week we’re going to look at some future projects. First, let’s head downriver, through Pittsburgh, to the Ohio River and Wheeling, WV. Like our region, this historic city has seen a decline in the last 50+ years. Now, Wheeling Heritage, an organization whose vision includes the preservation and utilization of the Wheeling National Heritage Area to enhance the area’s economic future, is working to be a catalyst for revitalization in the city. Wheeling is a place with the amenities of a big city, but the community feel of a small town.

The City of Wheeling recently released renderings of what the 1400 Block of Market Street might look like soon. This block in the Wheeling Historic District contains four buildings that the city has purchased with the vision to see them brought back to life. Over the last few years, the city has been unable to find local developers with the means and capacity to take on a project of this size. But, after partnering with Steadfast City Economic and Community Partners the search was taken to the national level and yielded five interested parties, three serious proposals, and finally, Desmone was selected to tackle the project.

Chip Desmone, CEO of Desmone, along with Tipping Point, a real estate development consultant, are now working alongside Wheeling Heritage and the City of Wheeling to see this project through. Like many projects in post-industrial areas like Wheeling and the Oil Region, the 1400 Block project relies heavily on subsidized funding. Numerous grants have been sought out, along with other earmarked money set aside for redevelopment by the city and other organizations.

Even with all these groups working together, the process is long and largely dependent on being awarded allocations. The project will go in front of Community Development Entities (CDEs) next week for the second time. If they succeed, they could see allocation in the next few weeks. Betsy Sweeny from Wheeling Heritage expressed her hopefulness but also recognized that the process is extremely competitive, and it is common to go through the process for multiple cycles before making it through. If they do make it, construction could start by the end of summer, and if all goes well, the 18-month prospective construction period would be wrapped up within the next two years.

The finished project will result in four lower-level “bays” available for restaurants, shops, or other businesses, with spacious 1 and 2-bedroom apartments in the upper levels. Each building also has space for an outdoor patio, and Wheeling Heritage has some stipulations for businesses who may want to move in, including offering outdoor seating, and at least one bay must offer some kind of community benefit such as a grocery store, dentist, or daycare.

The future is bright for Wheeling as these groups, passionate about historic preservation and redevelopment, are paving the way for change. Here in the Oil Region, there are also passionate, driven people working to see adaptive reuse happen. In Emlenton, the Fuchs site has been an ongoing project. Like the 1400 Block project in Wheeling, this project depends heavily on funds release. But, as each stage progresses, we are closer to seeing this old industrial site brought back to life for our community’s benefit. There are also numerous sites with untapped potential for reuse and redevelopment currently available.

If you have an example of adaptive reuse in your area or a site with potential, I’d love to hear about it! Stop in on Fridays at Divani in Foxburg. We are there from 1-3 pm. We’ll also be spending some time up at River Roots Community Farm throughout the summer months, so watch the Facebook page @RiverRootsRedevelopment for more information.


Rachel Brosnahan is the Community Engagement Coordinator for River Roots Redevelopment. She can be reached by email at

22 views0 comments


bottom of page