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Vacant Quarrier Street building slated for rehab

Kenny Kemp
The 1033 Quarrier Building shows signs of neglect, three years after its owners forced tenants to move. The Sacred Heart Grade School may expand into the space.

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Nearly three years after tenants like Gallery Eleven were forced to move out amid reports the nearby Catholic church needed the space, the seven-story office building at 1033 Quarrier St. remains empty.

The Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston does indeed want to use the building, said lawyer Ralph Hoyer, who owns the building under a limited liability company, 1033 Quarrier, LLC.

"The big long-range plan was always to have that building connect to Sacred Heart Grade School," Hoyer said. "We're doing the evaluation of the building as an extension of the grade school."

Hoyer said he is working with Bishop Michael Bransfield of the Wheeling-Charleston Diocese on the building plans.

"I represent the Sacred Heart Basilica, as I have for the last 40 years," he said. "I do all their property development. I've been involved with all the acquisition of real estate, the addition to the basilica, most recently the early childhood center and gymnasium."

On Tuesday the building at 1033 Quarrier, at the southeast corner of Dunbar Street, looked much as it did when the tenants moved out in October 2010, though perhaps a bit worse for wear.

Faded signs on the front still tout Betty K's Hairstyling and Gallery Eleven, while posters taped inside the glass doors promote three-year-old events. Upstairs, scattered broken windows allow the wind to ruffle curtains.

Hoyer said he bought the building about 30 years ago. "It was the last piece of property on the block that was not owned by the church."

The idea was that at some point the church would expand into the property, he said.

"Since Father [now Monsignor] Sadie came here, we have grown substantially."

Tenants had to be evicted in 2010 to allow detailed planning for renovation, Hoyer said. The building may also have asbestos issues, city building officials have said.

"To perform the evaluation we're doing now, in order to see if the floors line up, you have to dig around a little," Hoyer said. "Thank God they do."

Tony Harmon, the city building commissioner, said city inspectors have visited the site.

"Somebody was in there at one point. We stopped it," he said several weeks ago. "They needed to get an asbestos abatement report. They said they were just cleaning up. It was my understanding they said they were working for the Catholic church.

"It's basically in pretty rough shape," Harmon said. "It's a problem. We just hope the economy gets built back up so people fix these buildings up, find a use for them."

Hoyer said he's been busy on other projects. "It's not that we've been idle." Reach Jim Balow at balow@wvgazette.com or 304-348-5102.


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