Building Prosperity in Preston County: The Grace Chapel Industrial Building

Building Prosperity in Preston County: The Grace Chapel Industrial Building Main Photo

27 Feb 2024

Located just outside of Kingwood, you’ll find the 44,000 square-foot Grace Chapel industrial building situated on a 7.5 acre site. The building was constructed in the early 1970s to house the Kinney Shoe Factory, which employed 100 people. When it went out of business in 1986, the building sat unoccupied until 1995, when Sheidow Bronze moved part of its operations into the building. It continued to operate as Sheidow Bronze, then York Bronze, and then Matthews Bronze. The building was vacated in June 2017.  

Giving the Grace Chapel Building New Life

In 2017, the Preston County Commission donated the Grace Chapel Building and its surrounding property to the Preston County Economic Development Authority (PCEDA). “At that time, we had the property surveyed and divided into two lots,” said PCEDA Executive Director Robbie Baylor. “We also applied for an abandoned mine lands (AML) grant through the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection. We were awarded a $2.1M grant that helped us complete an environmental assessment and remediation, install a new roof, new electric system and LED lighting, a new security system,  create a new six-acre pad site with road, and upgrade the parking lot.”

On top of its renovations and improvements, the building has city water and sewer service, 3-phase power, natural gas, and broadband, and is located in close proximity to Kingwood and West Virginia Route 7. The PCEDA put funds into painting the outside doors, curbs and markers, as well as replacing all of the bathroom fixtures.. “We just completed installing new HVAC units,” said Robbie Baylor, Executive Director of PCEDA.  

A Commitment to Developing the Local Economy

Our mission is to aggressively promote economic vitality by creating and retaining jobs, allowing our residents and communities to become and remain economically secure. This project provided work for several local companies. These local businesses bid on the work and were awarded contracts. Solid Rock Excavating from Albright completed all of the new pad site work, as well as the new road construction and the parking lot rehabilitation. Bruceton Mills company GEC Inc. did all of the building rewiring and installed new breaker boxes.  They also installed the new LED lighting in the building. Raa Contracting from Tunnelton replaced lentils over the building’s front and garage doors, as well as painted the doors and outdoor markers, replaced a broken window and repaired and/or replaced all of the bathroom fixtures.

Preston County’s low availability of industrial building space has been a challenge for bringing in new companies needing an industrial site. The Grace Chapel Building and its surrounding land provides an important space for businesses looking for a new location. Once a new business (or businesses) has been secured on the site, the community will see a variety of benefits, including job creation, capital investment, and financial returns coming in the form of real estate, property taxes, and residual spending in the community.

The Grace Chapel Building is Ready for Its Next Phase: A New Occupant

The advantages of the Grace Chapel Building site are clear. But it’s important to note that perhaps the single greatest advantage for businesses and residents of Preston County is its proximity to major industrial and consumer markets. Interstate 68 passes through the northern section of the county, offering access to Morgantown to the West in 30 minutes and Cumberland, MD to the East. Travelers and freight can reach Pittsburgh in two hours, and Baltimore, Washington D.C., Columbus, and Cleveland in three to four hours. Preston County is within 500 miles of two-thirds of the American and one-third of the Canadian industrial and consumer markets.

We welcomed Superior Fibers into the Grace Chapel Building in January. Their manufacturing facility is located in nearby Reedsville, so the company is using the Grace Chapel Building for additional warehouse space, as well as some of their shipping and receiving.. “We are proud to partner with the Preston County Economic Development Authority,” said Jerry Rodarmel Jr., Chief Executive Officer of Superior Fibers. “As a company, it is important to keep most of our job opportunities in the local communities. This location helped us do just that. Along with the building’s amenities and its excellent condition, the location’s proximity to our current facilities was a huge bonus.”

In 2023, PCEDA set the goal to welcome a tenant into the building, and we’re happy to welcome Superior Fibers. Though the building is occupied, the new 6-acre pad is still available!  If you or someone you know is interested, we encourage you to reach out for more information. This project isn’t just a restoration project; it’s a leap toward a prosperous future for Preston County.

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