CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- The nonprofit group West Side Main Street announced Friday that it plans to acquire the former Staats Hospital -- a nearly century-old building the group has long said is important to redevelopment of the West Side.
The building, which sits at 121 Washington St. W., just across from Bigley Avenue, has fallen into disrepair. About a decade ago, the building's owner wanted to tear it down, and the Charleston Urban Renewal Authority agreed to the plan.
But West Side Main Street has been interested in acquiring the Staats Hospital building for years. In 2010, Pat McGill, the group's former director, told The Charleston Gazette that "it's a building that needs to be restored."
"I know . . . this was really something that meant a lot to her," current West Side Main Street head Stephanie Johnson said of McGill, who retired earlier this year.
Josie Counts, West Side Main Street's board president, said in a news release Friday evening, "The historic preservation of this building and the huge economic impact from the revitalization will be key elements to keeping the West Side momentum moving forward."
The group will work with Charleston developer Brooks McCabe. "He is very experienced and very knowledgeable and he will be a huge asset," Johnson said Friday evening.
West Side Main Street's development arm, the West Side Development Corporation, will work with McCabe, the Charleston City Council and other organizations, according to the release. The group said it's trying to get money from several sources, including the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the West Virginia Historic Preservation Office.
West Side Main Street is under the umbrella of the West Virginia State University Extension Service -- the only such arrangement in the country, according to WVSU.
Earlier this year, Preservation Alliance West Virginia put the Staats Hospital building on its annual Endangered Properties List.
"We would like to see the building return to its former glory, and contribute again to the economic vitality of the West Side," McGill said at the time. "Its absence would leave a gaping hole in our historic district."
Johnson acknowledged Friday that the building needs a lot of work. "It has negative value as it sits right now," she said.