WHEELING - East Wheeling should receive an influx of new residents before the end of the year because the initial phase of the Vandalia Heritage Foundation housing project is almost complete.
"We plan to start leasing next month," said Vandalia President and Chief Executive Officer Laura Kurtz Kuhns after Monday's East Wheeling Neighborhood Watch meeting. "This is probably the first new construction in this area for probably 100 years - for new housing in this neighborhood."
The project, located along Wood Street between 14th and 15th streets, includes the construction of some new buildings and the rehabilitation of two older structures. The project was made public in late 2009, but some obstacles prevented an earlier groundbreaking. In 2010, changes from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development altered the buildings' design and sent the whole project "back to the drawing board," Kuhns said.
Photo by Casey Junkins
Laura Kurtz Kuhns, Vandalia Heritage Foundation president and chief executive officer, Monday shows one of the organization’s new East Wheeling apartments to downtown Wheeling resident Charles Ballouz.
The project, when completed, will include 17 HUD-approved units throughout the five lots. Before the 2010 HUD regulation changes that designated a larger maximum amount of space needed, the plan originally called for 20 units.
In explaining Vandalia's rental procedure, Kuhns said there will be no age restrictions. However, there also will not be any Section 8 housing.
"You will see folks there from differing income levels, which is good to promote the community," she said, noting Vandalia will conduct thorough background checks before renting. "We tend not to have a tolerance at all with any type of crime or drugs."
There are a certain number of dedicated parking spaces for the rental units, and Kuhns said a laundry facility is also in the works. The apartments feature carpeting, spacious closets and small balconies.
Kuhns said there will be a full-time property manager for the apartments, meaning that any local residents who have a problem with something going on there can call 304-233-1600 to voice their concerns.
Vandalia is already looking to build more housing, Kuhns said, noting the organization is acquiring more property on which to perform more construction.
"We believe in East Wheeling. We want to be there," she said.
The new housing is located diagonally across from the block recently demolished to make way for the J.B. Chambers Recreation Park, formerly known as the East Wheeling sports complex. It is also across 15th Street from the massive former Clay School.