Rehabilitation work on historic Fort Henry Building in Wheeling continues

WHEELING, W.Va. — Rehabilitation work on the historic Fort Henry Building in downtown Wheeling is coming along with hopes of it being fully occupied by the end of the year.

Officials with McKinley Architecture and Engineering, who owns the building formerly home of the Fort Henry Club , have been rehabbing the first, third and fourth floors. A first round of renovations in the building was finished in 2015 with the second floor. The building has been in the ownership of the firm for the past 10 years.

David H. McKinley, chairman of the board for the company told MetroNews that the building had been slated for demolition and officials did not want that to happen.

David H. McKinley

“It’s a prominent structure in downtown at the corner of 14th and Chapline streets. Lots of history, lots of important things happened. People have been in, met or even stayed in that building,” McKinley said.

After the completion of an 8-million-dollar investment to update the structure planned for December, the building will house several professional offices.

The rehabilitation project began six years ago with current tenant State of WV Division of Rehabilitation Services, a release said. McKinley stated there are plans for McKinley Architecture and Engineering to move into the fourth floor for a design studio and office space. He added that local lawfirm Steptoe & Johnson has signed to be the anchor tenant of the 36,000 sq. ft. building.

“It is great to see more private investment in the City of Wheeling,” Wheeling Mayor Glenn Elliott previously stated. “McKinley Architecture and Engineering has a particular expertise in the areas of historic rehabilitation and adaptive reuse, and Wheeling is a city loaded with such opportunities. Historic preservation may be challenging and expensive, but if done right, the results can really enhance a city’s authentic sense of place and economic viability.”

Recently announced for the project was a U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) loan guarantee for $5.2 million. McKinley said they have worked through Main Street Bank and the USDA loan guarantee makes the loan more attractive to the banks lending us the money to finance the project. The loan is designed to encourage investment in rural areas and guarantee behind the loan and attractive for banks, he said.

“There’s a lot of money being spent there right now. It’s an exciting investment but we’re confident over the years to come it will prove to be worthwhile,” McKinley said.

The renovations are to comply with the United States Secretary of the Interior’s guidelines for historic preservation and restoration, a release stated and they have to do a lot of repairs like roofs and ladders, that’s why for American made ladders they checked out EGA Products for this. The West Virginia State Historic Preservation Office was the driving force behind the rehabilitation of the building with guidance, expertise, and grant funding for the building.

The building still has 3700 sq. ft. of leasable space. For more information, please contact Lori Payne, CAO, Willow Glen Capital at (304) 281-6746 or at

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