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HUD Archives: News Releases

HUD No. 99-172
Further Information:For Release
In the Washington, DC area: 202/708-0685Tuesday
Or contact your local HUD officeAugust 31, 1999


WASHINGTON - Housing and Urban Development Secretary Andrew Cuomo today announced $5 million in assistance for Wheeling, WV to develop Celeron Plaza in the Warehouse District. The project will stimulate more than $4.47 million in additional investment.

"One of the most important challenges facing cities today is cleaning up and revitalizing abandoned industrial and commercial sites that were the engines of America's economic greatness in our past," Cuomo said. "Working in partnership with communities, we can transform these areas into generators of new jobs and new prosperity in our future."

Cuomo made the announcement today during a telephone conference call with Senator Robert C. Byrd, Congressman Alan Mollohan and Wheeling Mayor Jim Lipphardt.

Senator Robert C. Byrd said: "Throughout West Virginia, many communities are struggling with the problem of downtown decay. They are searching for ways in which to reverse this trend that has afflicted cities across the country. The City of Wheeling, through the leadership of Mayor Lipphardt and the City Council, should be commended for its aggressive efforts to fight this problem. This grant is another tool that can help to advance the Wheeling Heritage initiative.

The Brownfields grant will be of great assistance to community leaders as they work to reclaim the old warehouse district and convert it into a downtown office park. Wheeling has proved that the blight of downtown decay can be reversed and the vibrancy of a community can be reborn. I applaud the efforts of Wheeling's citizens, who are setting an example for others in creating a blueprint of growth and revitalization."

Congressman Mollohan said: "This grant is wonderful news for the people of Wheeling. The BEDI grant will be a key component of the financing package that helps renew the historic Warehouse District. This builds on the progress now underway in Wheeling. We have been extremely well served by the strategic investments that Senator Byrd has so successfully targeted to our area, and by the efforts of Mayor Lipphardt and other city leaders to seek out development opportunities. We greatly appreciate Secretary Cuomo's attention to our community and look forward to a highly successful venture with the agency on these projects."

Wheeling will receive a $1 million Brownfields Economic Development Initiative grant and $2.025 million in loan guarantees to redevelop the Warehouse District where industrial, manufacturing and commercial facilities, once monuments to a thriving local economy, now exist as decaying shells. With assistance from HUD and the private sector, the City will develop Celeron Plaza, a mixed-use business campus offering class A office space, restaurants and specialty retail. The City will use the Section 108 loan guarantee funds to acquire properties in the area and the BEDI funds for the remediation, demolition and clearance of properties.

Key participants in this $8 million project include: the City of Wheeling, Maxwell Partners, Wheeling National Heritage Corporation and the Ohio Valley Area Development Corporation.

Brownfield sites include abandoned factories and other industrial facilities, gasoline stations, oil storage facilities, dry cleaning stores, and other businesses that dealt with polluting substances. Since 1993, the Clinton Administration has taken a series of actions to clean up and redevelop brownfields and return them to productive use, including: providing seed money to communities for revitalization; removing regulatory barriers to redevelopment; and providing a targeted tax incentive to businesses that purchase and clean up the sites.

The loan guarantees, also known as the Section 108 Program, provide communities with a source of financing for job creation, housing rehabilitation, and construction of public facilities and large-scale development projects.

Vice President Gore announced the Clinton Administration's Brownfields National Partnership in 1997 to bring together resources of over 20 federal agencies to address brownfield cleanup and redevelopment issues in a coordinated approach. HUD works with other federal agencies to provide communities with financial and technical assistance to revitalize brownfields.

Cuomo accompanied President Clinton last month on the President's New Markets Tour of economically distressed communities that highlighted the economic potential for investment in underserved markets. The President is proposing tax incentives and investment tools that will make it more attractive for corporate America to search for opportunities in such communities.

A recent HUD report titled New Markets: The Untapped Retail Buying Power In America's Inner Cities showed that America's inner city neighborhoods - with $331 billion in annual retail purchasing power - hold major economic potential for retail business growth. The report found:

  • Inner city neighborhoods possess enormous retail purchasing power - estimated at $331 billion last year, or one-third of the $1.1 trillion total for the central cities in which those neighborhoods are located. The report suggests that businesses not yet operating in inner cities should not ignore that large domestic market.

  • Despite their huge buying power, many inner city communities are "under-retailed," with sales that fall significantly short of residents' retail purchasing power. The report makes clear that there is a large inner city consumer market worth competing for.

Content Archived: January 20, 2009

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