Should it stay or go? Wheeling inching closer to demolishing 19th Street eyesore

Ohio County

Crews are taking what's salvageable from the former Hazel-Atlas Glass Factory as it awaits its sentence from council

WHEELING, W.Va. (WTRF) — A glass factory now eyesore in Wheeling made it past another first-reading at city council. After purchasing, the now dilemma is what to do with the brick structure on 19th Street.

The former owner of the building says it’s no longer a question. 

Yes, this building should certainly come down.

Frank Calabrese, former owner of 19th Street building, demolitionist with Americo, Inc.

This building funeral director of sorts says there’s a time and place to hold on, and there’s a time to say goodbye. Almost everyone in Wheeling might agree; it’s time to do the latter, but there’s something holding-up council. 

The overall project, which includes the remediation is $530,000. But the demolition of asbestos abatement is $449,000 and then remediation is around $80,000. 

Robert Herron, Wheeling City Manager

Wheeling bought the property several months ago in bankruptcy court and already approved those aforementioned costs to minimize environmental damage. 

“Immediately we began working with the West Virginia DEP on their voluntary remediation program. The city is enrolled in that program,” said Herron. “As part of it, we go through the process of cleaning the site up.”

In order to apply for a reimbursement grant through the Department of Environmental Protection, there’s a last step; approving the Asbestos, Abatement & Demolition contract. 

The goal is to get a ‘no further action’ letter so they can market the land and the city manager says they’ve already had multiple inquiries. 

We’re going to take out a blighted building and we’re going to create about three acres of developable property right in the middle of Wheeling. If you look at the 1100 block which is currently the home of the Health Plan; that’s less than one acre and we’re spending less than half of what we spent there and getting three-times the acreage.

Robert Herron, Wheeling City Manager

Now removing the last salvageable items inside, Calabrese is prepping the former Hazel-Atlas Glass Factory for its ultimate demise. 

“Some things should never come down, but be saved for posterity,” said the demolitionist with Americo Inc. “Buildings like this, which have lost their utility, certainly should come down to make land available for the next dream.”

The second and final reading will be on March 16.

Stay with 7NEWS for updates.

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