Proposed Huntington Development on Hold, For Now

By: Carrie Cline Email
By: Carrie Cline Email

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- A proposed Huntington development didn't get the news it hoped for today, but that's not closing the door on the project. River Place is the proposal that could finally bring a baseball stadium for Marshall University along with a hotel, conference center and restaurant to the ACF site along Third Avenue.

Developers were hoping for approval today for $50 million in tax exempt recovery zone bonds. But, the powers-that-be didn't say no, but they didn't say yes either.

“We have to get public and private in sync and right now, we're not in sync,” said Keith McGuire.

That's why the West Virginia economic development authority tabled the request from developer, Keith McGuire for $50 million in recovery zone bonds for River Place.

“I'm from Huntington and want to improve the area,” said McGuire.

McGuire and his business partner, Brad Burgess, want to build a public-private development along Huntington's Third Avenue. It would include the property currently occupied by ACF, its parking lot and part of Flint Pigment Group. It's a little more than 40 acres total from Fifth Avenue all the way to the Ohio River.

The private portion would include a baseball stadium primarily for Marshall University, a restaurant, hotel and conference center. The public part of the project spearheaded by the West Virginia port authority would include a transportation training facility, law enforcement training center, extended stay housing, research and development and a track--also for Marshall University.

“This project would have a $24.5 million dollar impact on Huntington the first year,” said McGuire.

“Any new projects that would bring jobs and investment to the area is very exciting and the commission supports it,” said Stephen Zoeller.

Zoeller is the Cabell County Manager. The Cabell County Commission gave the developers permission to take a crack at these reduced interest bonds made possible for the federal stimulus package to the state.

“They’re not funding principle, they’re giving a discount on interest. That makes it very attractive. This allows for funding of projects that otherwise wouldn't get funded,” said Zoeller.

This project could also mean as many as 750 new jobs. The Economic Development Authority approved five of seven projects awarding a little more than $50 million in bonds. There are still $20 million left. The River Place project will be considered again in August.

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