CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Reviving an idea shelved four years ago, University of Charleston leaders once again hope to build upscale housing along the Kanawha riverfront at Triana Field.
They've scrapped the twin five-story condominium buildings, however, in favor of up to seven duplex townhouses.
"We're having some conversations with individuals who were interested in the condominiums before, to see whether they'd be interested in townhouses," UC President Ed Welch said Friday.
UC leaders started exploring the idea of building condos along the river as early as 2005. They hired Associated Architects to draw up plans and talked to neighbors.
In 2007, they unveiled revised designs and started taking deposits for the 18 units, which were to sell for between $600,000 to more than $1 million. But the economy tanked, and Welch put the plans on the shelf in 2009.
The townhouses could be built in stages, Welch said.
"The advantage of doing that was, before, we had to identify 15 people who wanted to do the same thing at the same time, and then the economy deteriorated. We needed 13 or 14 to go forward; we had 10. We got very close.
"Now we can do something with a smaller number of people," he said. "The stock market is coming back. Some people have come back, asking 'are you going to do anything.' We've been having conversations. They can work with an architect to see what it would cost to build what they'd like.
"There are some people very interested in learning more and having a conversation with the architects ...
"I'm guessing the townhouses would have 2,500 to 3,000 square feet." At an estimated building cost of $200 per square foot, they might sell for between $500,000 and $600,000, "depending on lots of individual decisions on furnishings, what kind of kitchen they want. Some might choose to build an elevator."
Residents won't buy the land under their homes, however, Welch said.