West Virginia Gov. Justice announces historic redevelopment projects in Fayetteville
FAYETTEVILLE, WV (STL.News) Governor Jim Justice joined Mountain Shore Properties LLC in announcing a historic redevelopment of the former Fayetteville schoolhouses. The three former schoolhouses, located in the heart of Fayetteville, will be transformed into a boutique hotel, modern apartments, and townhomes. The $15 million project is being led by Fayetteville-native and national real estate developer, Charlie Wendell.
“We’re about to embark on something that is truly amazing for this area,” Gov. Justice said.
“Tourism is exploding all across West Virginia. We have waves and waves of people that are visiting our great state, and you can bet that the addition of a classy boutique hotel like this, within a rock’s throw of America’s newest National Park, will draw them in droves,” Gov. Justice continued. “It’s great to see a West Virginia native son like Charlie coming back home to invest in our communities. There’s nothing better than taking these local gems and repurposing them as something new and exciting.”
Earlier this month, Mountain Shore Properties LLC began negotiations to acquire the former Fayetteville High School, Middle School, and Elementary School for this project which will fuel the growing tourism economy, as well as address some of the current housing shortages in the area.
Mountain Shore Properties LLC will convert the former high school and the adjacent middle school building into a 45-50 room boutique hotel. The neighboring elementary school building will be transformed into 20-24 apartment units, while retaining the former gymnasium as a community facility for the citizens of Fayetteville. The plan also includes townhome development. The project is expected to create 30 construction jobs and 25 permanent jobs once the construction is complete.
Wendell has pledged to celebrate the town’s rich history by maintaining photographs and memorabilia throughout the properties.
“Since my family has been a part of the Fayette County and Fayetteville area since its founding, I am humbled by the opportunity to continue that association through this development,” said Founder and Chairman of Mountain Shore Properties, Charlie Wendell.
This landmark development comes just a little over a year after the designation of the New River Gorge National Park and Preserve and is expected to fuel continued growth in the region. Since the park designation, the area has received an incredible amount of national and international recreation as a top-tourism destination.
“What a momentous day for the community of Fayetteville and America’s newest National Park,” said West Virginia Tourism Secretary Chelsea Ruby. “The Governor is a true visionary for tourism, and his commitment to the industry has brought forth new ideas and new investment, like this historic project we celebrate today. The park designation has brought an incredible amount of attention to our state and this region. Visitation to the New River Gorge National Park increased by 31% last year. With this growth comes an increased demand for overnight accommodations, and I’d like to thank Charlie for helping us meet this need by making such an incredible investment in West Virginia tourism. We can’t wait for new and returning visitors to experience this truly unique redevelopment in the heart of Fayetteville.”
U.S. Senator Shelley Moore Capito attended today’s announcement, saying that this project will be a tremendous source of local pride.
“There’s no place like home,” Senator Capito said. “The memories that are here, the people that everybody grew up with, and community love is still very, very vibrant in Fayetteville and in Fayette County…I want to thank Charlie for investing in our state for investing in our people. I think this will be a good footprint for lots of other growth.”
Senator Capito also discussed the positive impact that the New River Gorge National Park and Preserve’s designation as America’s newest National Park is having on drawing development projects such as this to the region.
“To have been able to push that across the finish line has been a great source of pride for me,” Senator Capito added. “It grows the attractiveness of your region and we’ve capitalized here. The Governor has done incredible work to make sure that every T is crossed and every I is dotted to make sure that West Virginia – the state and the federal arms – are working together.”
Also taking part in today’s event were Fayette County Commission President Allison Taylor and Fayetteville Mayor Sharon Cruikshank.
“I love seeing projects like this happen in our county,” Taylor said. “I’m one of the kids who had to go away, and then come home. I yearned for West Virginia and now I’m back. We have a great quality of life in this county, and this project is only going to help make it even better.”
“As a member of the last class to graduate from the old Fayetteville High School in 1976, to say I’m thrilled is an understatement,” Cruikshank said. “Since receiving our school buildings from the county board of education, it has been a focus to find the perfect partnership in the preservation of these historic school buildings; a partnership that would serve our community and help it to grow.”
This announcement comes on the heels of several other significant economic development announcements. West Virginia has become a national leader in so many areas, and investors are taking note.
“Governor Justice promised a rocket ship ride for West Virginia, and he is surely delivering on that promise,” said West Virginia Department of Economic Development Secretary Mitch Carmichael. “We’re seeing new development across all corners of the Mountain State, and this redevelopment continues that momentum by answering two immediate calls for lodging and local infrastructure. My team stands ready to assist Charlie in any way we can as this project comes to fruition.”
“Everything is really cooking in West Virginia right now, but it still takes people like Charlie and an organization like Mountain Shore Properties to step up and help make it even better,” Gov. Justice said. “It’s amazing how we yearn to come home. West Virginia is a special place. It gives us our roots.
“These people could be doing this project in lots of different places, but they’ve chosen us because they want to be part of the good stuff that’s going on in West Virginia,” Gov. Justice continued. “You can be assured that the people of this great community and state will never forget what they’re doing, because it’s so meaningful.”
Mountain Shore Properties LLC is a national real estate development company with $400+ million in development projects across the East Coast. Founder and Chairman Charlie Wendell got his start in the industry with his first commercial development in his home state of West Virginia in 1980. Since opening his first hotel in Oak Hill, his team has developed and operated 11 hotels in West Virginia and a total of 27 hotels in 10 states.