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  1. Valley HealthCare breaks ground on $7 million expansion

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    Valley HealthCare System announced plans for a $7 million, three-building expansion that will provide additional beds for its addiction treatment programs it has been running out of Fairmont for the last 35 years.

    Gerry Schmidt, Valley’s chief operations officer, said there has been a steady increase in demand for detoxification services.

    “Our programs are full right now,” he said. “We got an expansion grant from the state of West Virginia and we’re funding the rest of the project ourselves.” Additional funding from a USDA loan, Schmidt said.

    The expansion – designed by The Thrasher Group of Bridgeport – will give Valley HealthCare 80 additional beds, split evenly between men and women. An additional, shared facility will provide 16 family beds, as well as designated treatment rooms, central dining, offices, multi-purpose activity areas and exercise space.

    Valley has plans in the future for an extended child-care program that will be designed to house women and their children, Schmidt said.

    “We look forward this expansion of vital addiction treatment services in a time when we are seeing a steady increase in the demand for detox, residential and extended-care treatment,” Schmidt said.

    “We serve the entire state of West Virginia,” he added.

    Construction of the expansion project on Crosswinds Drive is slated for completion in August 2021.

    “We have partnered with Valley for more than 25 years, working together to improve the community around us,” said Craig Baker, Thrasher’s Building’s and Facilities Marketing Director in a statement. “We appreciate the work they do for our state and for the opportunity to play a small role in it.”

     

    Article By: Suzanne Elliott, The Dominion Post

  2. $20 Million Small Format Hospital Approved – Fairmont

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    Mon Health CEO says project will be finished by the end of 2021.

    Mon Health System received its Certificate of Need from the West Virginia Health Care Authority to proceed with plans to construct a $20 million, small format hospital in Fairmont. Mon Health CEO David Goldberg said the next step is to put the project out for bid. Construction, he said, should take 16 months to complete.

    We’ll be open by the end of the year 2021,” he said. The 10-bed hospital, dubbed Mon Health Marion Neighborhood Hospital, will be constructed on land the health system already owns along Interstate 79 near Fresenius Kidney Care in Pleasant Valley. Small format hospitals are accredited by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to offer hospital-based services that include inpatient and outpatient medical beds, diagnostic imaging and lab services and full-service emergency services. The hospital will not have an operating room, a Cath lab or offices, Goldberg said. When it is up and running, it will be the first small format hospital in West Virginia, several of which already exist in the Greater Pittsburgh area. More than 100 people are expected to work at the facility, Goldberg said.

    The Fairmont area has been without a full-service hospital since the 207-bed Fairmont Regional Medical Center was closed in March by its California-based owner, Alecto Healthcare Services, after it could not find a buyer for the facility. Alecto said the hospital lost $19 million in three years. West Virginia University Medicine will begin using a portion of the shuttered Fairmont Regional later this year after it receives its separate CON from the state Health Care Authority. That facility will act as an arm of J.W. Ruby Memorial, WVU Medicine’s flagship hospital. WVU Medicine also filed for a second CON from the state to construct a 25-bed, full-service hospital next to its Urgent Care Center at the Gateway Connector, a $35.3 million project estimated to take 18 to 24 months to complete.

    Article by Suzanne Elliott, The Dominion Post

  3. Mon Health Seeks Equal Treatment When State Reviews Fairmont Hospital Projects

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    Mon Health System hopes that it will be treated on par with WVU Hosptials when the state Health Care Authority evaluates their somewhat parallel plans to open new hospitals in Fairmont. Both systems want to fill the gap left by the recent closure of Fairmont Regional Medical Center. In a statement released Tuesday, Mon Health President and CEO David Goldberg referenced a March 13 visit by Gov. Jim Justice to Fairmont to tout WVUH’s two projects.

    Politicization of healthcare is not safe and not smart, especially at a time with national, regional and local impacts from COVID-19,” Goldberg said. “What is happening across West Virginia is a perceived focused toward a single source of healthcare by one non-profit dominant healthcare system. National evidence shows that this leads to increased costs, diminished efficiency of convenient access, and ultimately a market monopoly. Most of all, the choice patients have and the right of citizens to choose where they want to get healthcare is taken away from them.” He continued, “Mon Health System has filed a worthy and appropriate Certificate of Need application to build a new hospital to serve Fairmont and the surrounding region and deserves fair and balanced review and consideration so that Mon Health System is not excluded from the Fairmont market.”

    On March 10, Mon Health notified the HCA that it will seek a certificate of need (CON) for a Mon Health Marion Neighborhood Hospital with an emergency room, 10 inpatient beds and the services of an acute care hospital. The estimated cost is $25 million and would take 18 months to complete.

    On March 20, WVU Hospitals notified the HCA of two projects it will seek CONs for: a 10-bed hospital in the FRMC building to serve as an interim facility and Ruby Memorial campus, at a cost of $8.79 million and taking one month to complete upon approval; and a subsequent 25-bed hospital at a separate site, to cost $35.3 million and be completed within 32 months. Justice characterized the WVU effort as a 100-bed hospital, but he conflated WVUH’s plans indicated in its letter to the HCA. WVUH said that after the initial project it anticipates two or three additional construction phases that “could approach approximately 100 beds.

    Goldberg said in his statement, “The governor has suggested that West Virginia’s Certificate of Need laws might be set aside so that WVU Medicine can move more quickly to replace hospital services. … There has been no indication from the governor that the possible set-aside of the Certificate of Need law will be applied in a fair and equal manner for any other independent entity, including Mon Health, to more quickly proceed with its project.

    The Dominion Post reported that on March 13, while the governor said he was thrilled and “tickled to death” about Mon Health’s plans for Fairmont, it wasn’t enough to amply serve the area. The Dominion Post asked Justice about this issue during his Tuesday COVID-19 press update, but his answer was unclear, as he focused instead on his idea of using FRMC as a backup hospital should virus cases overwhelm existing hospitals, and waiving any CON process to make that happen.

    Justice on Tuesday again talked about using if for overflow. “If you don’t dream big enough you’ll never get it done.” Without addressing Mon Health’s plan, he said he’s looked at way to speed up WVUH’s process, but the state rules and regulations regarding CONs are clear. Some rules have been relaxed for the COVID-19 pandemic, but others haven’t. “It doesn’t mean I’m not to going to go back and try to change the answer.

    Mon Health and WU Medicine both offered comments on Tuesday via email exchange. WVUM spokeswoman Heather Bonecutter said, “As I’m sure you understand, we’re focused entirely now on making sure WVU Medicine is fully prepared to respond to a surge in COVID-19 cases. We were surprised to hear the statements made yesterday. We are supportive of Mon Health’s project in Fairmont.” Goldberg said, “We have had multiple conversations with many parties to ensure healthcare choice and access is maintained in the Fairmont community for hospital-based services, outpatient care and durable medical equipment.”

    Mon Health System and WVUH have a strong working relationship. I have personal and professional respect for Albert Wright and the stellar providers at WVU Medicine, who are our partners in many services like tele-neurology/stroke, neonatology, nephrology and others. But, I also want to ensure the record is clear that Mon Health wants to be included in solutions for Fairmont and that our Certificate of Need application to build a hospital there is fairly reviewed in Charleston and that equal access, choice and balance in the market is preserved.

     

    Article by David Beard, The Dominion Post

  4. 100-Bed Hospital In Fairmont Awaits Approval

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    WVU Medicine said Friday it will file a certificate of need with the state to construct a 100-bed hospital in Fairmont on property it owns next to its Urgent Care facility on Stoney Road. The news of the WVU Medicine project, which is carrying an estimated price tag of “$30 million to $50 million” comes just days after Mon Health System said it was filing similar paperwork with the state to build a small format hospital on land it already owns in Pleasant Valley along Interstate 79, near Fresenius Kidney Care.

    Both hospital projects also follow the news last month that Fairmont Regional Medical Center was closing because of financial difficulties and the inability of current owner, Alecto Healthcare Systems, to find a buyer. CEOs of both Morgantown health systems have said their projects were in the works before Alecto’s announcement.

    Albert Wright, president and CEO of WVU Health System, said it is applying for a second certificate of need with the state to open a portion of FRMC to provide services to local residents as the new hospital is being constructed, a project that should take 18 to 24 months to complete. The new facility could employ as many as 500. “We’ve had a number of job fairs,” Wright said. FRMC could close anywhere from the end of March to mid-May, officials have said.
    It will take WVU Medicine about 30 days to get FRMC up and running. It will function as an arm of J.W. Ruby Memorial Hospital, Wright said. “We’ll be leasing the space at Fairmont Regional,” Wright said.

    Wright announced plans for the new hospital — located 2.2 miles from FRMC — at its Urgent Care facility at the Gateway Connector. He was joined on the platform by Gov. Jim Justice and Gordon Gee, president of West Virginia University. Justice said Alecto’s plans to close FRMC created a “real” problem, especially since the hospital averaged 20,000 emergency room visits a year. “That left everyone upside down,” Justice said.

    While the governor said he was thrilled and “tickled to death” about Mon Health’s plans for Fairmont, he said it wasn’t enough to amply serve the area. “Albert and Gordon will tell you that I pushed them hard,” Justice said. “It (the new hospital) could have ended up as a 10-bed holding area where they ship people off.” “This problem was a big problem to have the seventh largest city in West Virginia without a full-service hospital.

    Gee said WVU was on board with the new hospital. “It is something we wanted to do,” Gee said. “There are 1.8 million people in West Virginia and you need to have great health care here.” Fairmont Mayor Brad Merrifield said it was paramount that the city have a full-service hospital. “It will help with the misperception that Morgantown and Clarksburg have certain types of health care,” Merrifield said; “Now, we’re all on the same team.

    Article by Suzanne Elliott, The Dominion Post

     

    OPPORTUNITY | Black Diamond is thrilled to offer prime land opportunities adjacent to this newly planned project. Click HERE to view the detailed marketing flyer for 101 Stony Road in Fairmont, WV, a 22 acre property along the Fairmont Gateway Connector.

     

     

  5. Opportunity Zones – What You Need to Know…

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    New federal government tax program benefits investors who place their money into Qualified Opportunity Zones. But what is a Qualified Opportunity Zone (aka QOZs, O-Zones or OZs)?

    Qualified Opportunity Zones (QOZs) were created by Congress in the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act in order to spur investment into distressed communities around the country. Investors are allowed to place capital gains from the sale of stocks, real estate or businesses into OZ funds without having to pay taxes on those capital gains. This investment strategy is similar to 1031 exchanges except OZs allow the elimination of tax obligation whereas 1031s only defer tax obligations.

    If the investment is held for five years, a 10% exclusion of the deferred gain is realized; after 7 years that exclusion increases to 15%. After holding the investment in the fund for 10 or more years, the investor can realize a benefit of paying no taxes on the investment.

    To invest in an OZ, the investor must either:

    • Create a Qualified Opportunity Zone Fund or
    • Invest directly into a QOZ fund where at least 90% of the holdings are invested into businesses located within a QOZ.

    OZ funds can invest in either real estate development or start-up/spin-off businesses whose primary office/place of business is located inside the boundaries of the OZ. In this article, we will focus on the real estate side of OZ investing. But imagine the tax savings if you invested into the next Amazon or Microsoft (located in an OZ) then cashed out after 10 years with no taxes due to the federal government.

    In West Virginia, 55 areas have been designated as Opportunity Zones over 30 counties. Regionally, parts of Morgantown, Fairmont, Clarksburg, Buckhannon, Elkins and a large portion of Taylor County have been designated as OZs. Click here for a map of OZs.

    In commercial real estate, there are a couple ways to invest into a QOZ. The goal of the program is to spur development into distressed communities; therefore one cannot purchase land under the QOZ program and just sit and hold the property. A developer can purchase raw land and make improvements to the land by developing a site where a working business entity is to be located. A developer can also purchase property with existing structures but must make investment into the property to ‘significantly’ increase the value of the property; significant is defined as at least doubling the value of the property.

    The details of the OZ fund program are fairly extensive. Please contact us at Black Diamond Realty or call your accountant or financial planner/advisor to further discuss the benefits of the OZ program.

    The properties below are Black Diamond Realty offerings that are available and located with an Opportunity Zone. Click on VIEW to learn more about each offering.

    MORGANTOWN

    220, 230 Beechurst Avenue (Investment) VIEW
    Gilmore Street Portfolio (Investment) VIEW
    1370 University Avenue (Investment) VIEW
    160 Fayette Street (Investment)
    767 Chestnut Ridge Road (Investment/Retail)
    1369 Stewartstown Road (Office) VIEW
    1399 Stewartstown Road (Office) VIEW
    1193 Pineview Drive (Office) VIEW
    1195 Pineview Drive (Office) VIEW
    2916 University Avenue (Office/Retail) VIEW
    1345 University Avenue (Land) VIEW

    FAIRMONT

    Speedway Business Park (Land/Industrial) VIEW
    1200 Morgantown Avenue (Industrial) VIEW
    945 King Street (Industrial)
    1622 Speedway Avenue (Industrial)

    CLARKSBURG

    400 West Main Street (Office) VIEW
    609 West Main Street (Office) VIEW

    ELKINS

    Railyard Development Site (Land)

    Helpful Links

    Opportunity Zone Funds

    IRS Website – Opportunity Zones

    Map of Opportunity Zones

    Get Up to Speed on O-Zones

     

    Article by Chris Waters, BDR Associate

     

  6. Development at Fairmont’s old Owens-Illinois site underway

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    After 30 years of inactivity, the site of the old Owens-Illinois glass factory is finally seeing new development, as a Morgantown developer has committed to reinvigorating what’s now being called the Speedway Business Park.

    In 2015, Merit Development, LLC purchased the land in east Fairmont with hopes to capitalize on the growing economic status of North Central West Virginia, according to Merit Development President Tom Laurita.

    “With the growth of Morgantown and the Bridgeport/Clarksburg area, we felt that Fairmont has become sort of a sweet spot and is in a position to experience growth in the near future,” Laurita said.

    In the years since the purchase of the property, Laurita and Merit Development Asset Manager Russell Bolyard said that plenty of behind-the-scenes work has been underway, despite development itself not starting until June 1 of this year.

    “We’re really still in the early preliminary stages of development,” Bolyard said. “We’re moving the earth. There was a lot of prep work since 2015 that went into the permitting and the cleanup of the site to prepare it for constriction … All of that work had to be done in order to start the earth work…

    “It was a good bit of work. There was testing and the studying of the area, and then the development of the cleanup plan and the cleanup. It took about two years. We got our final completion report in late January of this year,” he said.

    In addition, Fairmont City Planner Sandra Scaffidi said Merit has been doing some heavy work to make sure that, once completed, the park won’t be affected by heavy rainfall or flooding.

    “They’ve been working with FEMA to change the flood-way there to create more developable land,” Scaffidi said. “There’s a channel that runs right through the property, Originally, it was wide and shallow, so now they’re making it narrower and deeper. It’ll retain the same amount of water, but create more developable land.”

    Bolyard said that Merit is about 25 or 30 percent finished with the earth-moving, with hopes to be fully completed with this phase of development by the end of autumn.

    The development, Bolyard said, would be a huge boom to the area, bringing in businesses, jobs and hope to Fairmont.

    “The area is zoned industrial right now, and so it a commercial aspect to that and light industrial work could be done there,” Bolyard said. “We hope to attract business that will improve that area. We’re hoping to provide more jobs and be an asset to Fairmont.”

    Scaffidi agreed, and said that the park, once completed, could change the face of the east side for the better.

    “Aside from bringing quality jobs into our area and increasing our tax base, they are reusing a piece of land that was considered a Brownfields site,” Scaffidi said. “We can’t make new land in Fairmont, so we have to reuse what we have. I think they are creating a whole new energy on east side, putting new businesses there and encouraging new development.”

    Earlier in July, Bolyard and Laurita attended a Fairmont City Council meeting, hoping the city would go along with their plan to name the park’s future roads Glass Avenue, Bottle Works Avenue and Progress Street, each named in dedication to the work done at the site before Merit’s involvement. The council unanimously passed the ordinance to name the streets.

    “The actual naming is a play on the historical significance of the site with the Owens-Illinois glass factory,” Laurita said. “It was a major employer at one time, and there’s a lot of history in glass-making on that site, so we saw the history and decided to continue that and make sure people remember what was there and how great it once was. Hopefully, we can bring it back.”

    Bolyard shared his sentiment, and said that with the new park, they hope to bring the site back to its former glory.

    “It was a productive area at one time,” Bolyard said. “Over 1,000 people were employed there. We actually named one of the streets that will go in there ‘Progress Avenue.’We’re working with the city to bring that area back into a progressive state. It was dormant for over 30 years. We hope people tolerate us while we’re here doing the work so we can bring it back into a progressive state.”

    While the park is still a long way from completion, work is being done every day, and Laurita said that soon Fairmont will be treated to a high quality, well-maintained business park.

    “I hope it becomes a fully developed, vibrant community business park — a place where Fairmont residents can have a place to work and hopefully shop and whatever they need to do in the area. We can create a vibrant community once again on the east side.”

     

    Staff writer John Mark Shaver can be reached at 304-844-8485 or jshaver@theet.com.