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  1. Bridgeport, WV’s, White Oaks Continues Serving as Place of Business and Continued Growth

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    Bridgeport’s White Oaks development has seen much growth since its beginnings in 2008, with even more progress planned for the future this year. Austin Thrasher, White Oaks project manager, said the three-phase development project began right at the beginning of a recession. “It was almost a terrible time to start the development. We had a few years of slow (progression) but things started to grow and increase. I’d say the past five years has been the best growth we’ve had,” he said.

    Thrasher said the thought behind the development was to create a place to have support services for the then-new United Hospital Center, the expanding FBI and oil and gas services. From that it has grown into much more, he said. The White Oaks planned business community comprises 470 acres that are home to offices, FBI support services, medical support services, oil and gas businesses, national retailers, restaurants and vital amenities.

    Located at the intersection of Interstate 79 and W.Va. Route 279, the busy corridor sees an estimated average of 48,500 vehicles per day. It is adjacent to the $350 million United Hospital Center, at the doorstep of the FBI’s CJIS Division and the Biometric Center of Excellence. White Oaks is also located in the heart of Marcellus Shale play.

    Thrasher said White Oaks is divided into three separate phases, with work continuing to progress in all three. Within the last year, some of the development’s newest additions include the Clear Mountain Bank, Minard’s Spaghetti Inn Express and Dyer Group. This time last year, Thrasher said construction was still ongoing for the Clear Mountain Bank as well as the Dyer Group facility. Minard’s now occupies the area in Retail Village Building 1 that formally housed Hermosilla’s Deli.

    Nick Dyer, insurance producer and director of bonding, said the move from their Clarksburg location to the White Oaks Development was seamless. “It’s been a fantastic transition for us. Everything has gone very smoothly and all of our neighbors here at the White Oaks development have been very gracious as well as welcoming us as new members of the community here,” he said.

    The Dyer Group, previously located in Clarksburg, is one of Harrison County’s oldest businesses was originally founded as P.M. Long and Son Inc. The company has been in business since 1896 and is a sixth-generation, family-owned operation. Being at the new location, Dyer said, can aid in fostering future growth. “I think the location and accessibility to the interstate makes this a great location for our clientele and our staff as we transition into growing our agency,” he said. Dyer expressed the development was an asset to the entire region of North Central West Virginia and is happy “we can be a small part of it.

    Minard’s Spaghetti Inn, a popular Harrison County staple for 83 years, held its grand opening in November, and owner Joe Minard expressed how convenient it was for customers in Bridgeport because they would no longer have to wade through lengthy traffic to visit the Clarksburg location. General Manager Heather Gillespie said the restaurant has a primary convenience factor, providing meals in a to-go container whether customers eat in or take out, making it more convenient for those on a lunch break or in a hurry.

    After a soft opening two weeks ago, the new restaurant is starting to see some of its Bridgeport patrons more often than previously, Gillespie said. Some of its menu items include a hot Italian sub sandwich that is normally only available at the Clarksburg restaurant on special as well as soups like minestrone, Italian wedding soup, cheddar broccoli, potato, lobster bisque, pasta fagioli, and, starting next week, it also will sell vegetable beef soup and chili.

    Thrasher said there is work continuing throughout the year. There is one bay that remains vacant in the retail section of the development and a national fast food chain, which Thrasher did not name at this time, will find a new home in the lot in front of the Huntington Bank, with construction most likely beginning this year. Though nothing is solidified, Thrasher said there is potential for residential development behind the Harmony Assisted Living Facility, which also opened its doors this year.

    In addition, The Thrasher Group built a 4.5-acre pad behind the Freedom Kia dealership located right off of the Saltwell Exit and he said plans are in the works to utilize it for future developments. “If things work out, hopefully we will see some stuff come up before too long,” he said. Thrasher said the impact the development has in the region remains large with other surrounding factors in the area that help facilitate its growth.

    You kind of look for a nice place when you invest in a big building like this. If you’re (The Thrasher Group) and you are going to pay for a building of this size, you’re going to put it in a nice place that’s going to hold its value so we allow bigger companies like that to have place right here where people can come to work. I think it’s got a lot of value there,” Thrasher said.

    The hotels, restaurants and other aspects of the development are also essential, he said. “It’s also a really nice benefit having the airport over there with their runway and having the ability to have things land there, seeing them expand and opening up options. I think it really is going to open us up to a bigger area and close things down in terms of travel for us,” he said.

    Bridgeport Community Development Director Andrea Kerr said White Oaks from the very beginning has been aggressive and successful in developing their properties, having “done a tremendous job.” “We are excited to hear about the possibility of future development and hope to continue our working relationship to grow not only Bridgeport but North Central West Virginia,” he said.

     

    Article By Steven Baublitz, The State Journal 

  2. White Oaks Development Continues Expansion

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    The White Oaks development in Bridgeport, located just off the Jerry Drove Exit on Interstate 79, continues to grow and expand as more offices, retail locations and other businesses open their doors. The 472-acre business park has seen a flurry of construction activity over the past year, and developers plan to soon announce details of new projects planned there, said Austin Thrasher, White Oaks project manager. “Here pretty soon I think we’re going to have an announcement for some more earthworks construction going on for White Oaks that will develop some more pad space,” he said. “I would expect that we’ll probably be pulling the trigger within the next month and making that announcement.”

    The most recent additions to White Oaks include a 3,300-square-foot Clear Mountain Bank location and an 8,749-square-foot commercial building that houses a Starbucks and several other businesses, Thrasher said. “We’ve got the bank, and then the retail (building), with Starbucks, Elegant Nails and Bridgeport Physical Therapy that have all moved into there,” he said. “Then down the hill below TGI Friday’s we have Regional Eye Associates that just opened up there. We’ve also got Tenmile Land, a land company that opened up right across from Steptoe and Johnson.”

    David Thomas, Clear Mountain Bank’s CEO and president, said White Oaks was chosen to house the branch due to is central location. “The White Oaks community is just so vibrant right now,” Thomas said. “There is a lot of activity going on and a lot of businesses around. From that perspective, it was a big draw to provide easy access to our customers.” A multi million-dollar facility that will provide living space for senior citizens, which will be called The Crossings at Bridgeport, is also under construction and is expected to be completed next year, Thrasher said. Aubury Holmes, development manager for Smith/Packett, a senior housing and care development company based in Virginia that will operate the facility, said it will provide a variety of accommodations and services. “This will be a 94,629-square-foot senior living community with assisted living and memory care,” she said. “There will be several amenities, including physical therapy, exercise room, theater, bistro, activity space, outdoor courtyards and walking paths, van transportation to transport residents to activities within the community and a central kitchen with three meals day.” The project has a total budget of approximately $23.15 million, Holmes said.

    White Oaks, which was founded in 2008, has kept pace with its developers’ expectations for growth, Thrasher said. “It’s been very exciting for us. It’s definitely picked up pace since the development started,” he said. “It has done what I think everybody hoped it would do from the beginning. Over the last year and half or two years it seems like it has really picked up some speed.” The addition of direct flights to Washington, D.C., and Chicago out of the nearby North Central West Virginia Airport has contributed to White Oaks’ continued growth, Thrasher said. “I certainly don’t think it has hurt,” he said. “I know a lot of people with some existing businesses there have been using that a lot. I think it has serviced our area really well.” “That whole area out there has really been great for the city of Bridgeport and for the county and for North Central West Virginia,” Bridgeport Mayor Andy Lang said. “I think that it’s great they are going to continue to expand.”

    The development is divided into three sections, or “phases,” Thrasher said. “In Phase 1, which is where you see most of the buildings, we are closing in toward kind of the end remaining parcels,” he said. “Phase 2 starts with the Thrasher building and goes down to where the assisted living facility will be. They are really kicking off Phase 2 as the first people jumping in there.” In Phase 3, which is still largely vacant, developers estimate White Oaks will continue along its current growth trajectory for the next couple of decades, Thrasher said. “There is probably 20 more years worth of development to happen,” he said. “That’s the plan going forward: To build it out and hope they keep coming.”

    Article By: Charles Young, The Exponent Telegram 

    Interested in White Oaks Business Park? Click here to view the detailed marketing flyer.

  3. White Oaks continues development in 3-phase build-out

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    White Oaks continues development in 3-phase build-out. The White Oaks planned business community comprises 470 acres that are home to offices, FBI support services, medical support services, oil ad gas businesses, national retailers, restaurants and vital amenities.

    Located at the intersection of Interstate 79 and W.Va. 279, the busy corridor sees an estimated average of 48,500 vehicles per day. It is adjacent to the $350 million United Hospital Center, at the doorstep of the FBI’s CJIS Division and the Biometric Center of Excellence. White Oaks is also located in the heart of Marcellus Shale play.

    Retail Village Building 1 is fully occupied, with the newest tenants being Rominger Dental, Bonnie Belle’s Pastries and Hermasilla’s Deli. They all opened their doors in 2017.

    Retail Village Building 2 is under construction, with the first tenant to be Starbucks, Bridgeport Community Development Director Andrea Kerr said.

    Starbucks occupies 2,200 square feet of the 8,749-square-foot building located directly across from Building 1, she said.

    “Starbucks is estimated to cost about $175,000, while the entire Retail 2 shell is $884,320. The second building will be similar in size to the first one, with room for additional tenants,” Kerr said.

    Thrasher said Starbucks will be located in the far right end of Retail Village 2 and feature a drive-through.

    “We are looking to turn over that portion of the building to the company by June 1,” Thrasher said. “It will also have a 550-square-foot patio. I anticipate it opening late this year.”

    Cove Run Construction is doing the site work on Retail 2. Lee Reger Builds is the building construction contractor.

    “There are four more bays available, with interested parties in discussion. We have no final contracts at this time,” Thrasher said.

    Clear Mountain Bank will be located directly behind Retail Village 2. Cove Run is doing the site work.

    “They are about ready to bid the architectural work,” Thrasher said. “Regional Eye Associates will be located near Friday’s, with Cove Run preparing the site and Elite Custom Builders doing the construction.”

    Phase II and Phase III are being marketed now, with Elite Custom Builders to be located across from the W.Va. 131 entrance to White Oaks near Bear Express and the Shell fuel station in an area referred to as The Wedge, Thrasher said.

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    A large vehicle dealership, Freedom Kia, opened in 2017 in Phase III of White Oaks, located off W.Va. 131.

    Hermasilla’s Deli Market, a longtime staple of the Fairmont community, recently opened the doors to a 32-seat second location at White Oaks.

    Along with its signature sandwiches — which feature hand-sliced meats, a wide selection of cheeses and an array of toppings, condiments and vegetables — the establishment also offers salads and sells meats and cheeses in bulk.

    “White Oaks has been very aggressive in developing their property. They don’t stop in the winter. It is a year-round operation,” Kerr said. “It is good for them and great for us. It is a fantastic partnership that we hope to see continue for many more years.”

    Craig Baker, Architecture Division manager for the Thrasher Group, agreed with that sentiment.

    “White Oaks should be commended for their steadfast commitment to the architectural design covenants of the park. They had a vision of what they wanted the park to be and stuck with it,” Baker said. “One thing that makes White Oaks special is how they continually strive to maintain their identity as one of West Virginia’s premier business locations. With the addition of the park and trail system, White Oaks has maintained its identity as a great place to work and play.”

    White Oaks Phase II does not currently have any lots sold. It is located just past the Manchin Clinic Assisted Living Facility that opened late last year.

    Thrasher explained that while Phase I and II are primarily billed as a high-end business park, Phase II will also be for industrial use. Freedom Kia is the first business to locate in that area.

    Freedom Kia was previously located on Emily Drive. However, it began to outgrow its space and decided to move in October.

    “It came to a point where the volume of sales, our service department could not support. It was a situation where to continue to grow and provide our customers the support and service we want them to continue to have, we needed to give them a facility to be able to do that,” General Manager Jadd Buchanan said.

    The dealership facility cost around $5 million, an investment that allowed the company to stay local.

    “This became our home. We built a business here, and we didn’t want to abandon the customers we had sold to or serviced over the years,” Buchanan said. “We wanted to provide a location that was much more user-friendly as far as access — now it’s right off I-79, Exit 125 on Saltwell Road. It’s easier to get to for our employees who live in the area, and our residents in this direct area, so I think that was an easy decision.”

    In its new location, Freedom Kia has tripled the size of its service department, having gone from four lifts to 12, and added a substantial amount of inventory. The space also includes a car wash, which is complimentary when a car is brought in for servicing, and it’s generally more accessible.

    General Sales Manager Dorsey Larew said the larger facility has several perks.

    “We can house more mechanics, and therefore get you in and out faster. Sales display was a little tough when you’re parking in a parking lot versus an actual dealership that was built for that, so that’s been good,” Larew said. “With the lot, you can drive around and be able to look at all of our cars without having to get out of yours.”

    Located at 97 Joy Lane near Bridgeport, accessibility is a prime feature of the new location.

    “We’re a lot more convenient to get in and out of,” Larew said. “Going down Emily Drive, it was tough to get in and out.”

    In addition to offering online credit applications and service appointments, a two-year maintenance plan and a lifetime of state inspections on every car purchased at the location, Freedom Kia also has people who truly enjoy their work, said Jeannie Boyles, who has been the receptionist for six years.

    “We have great people who work here. They’re dedicated, friendly, and are happy to be here,” Boyles said. “That’s important for the company — to be able to come to work and know what you’re doing. It brings a lot of customers in from around the area, and the customers appreciate that, knowing we care about them that much.”

    For the future, Buchanan is looking forward to continued growth and being able to enhance customer service even more, staying focused on giving every individual personal help. At the new location, Freedom Kia offers several complimentary amenities, including local transportation, a kids entertainment room, and more.

    Baker-Hughes owns a parcel in Phase III, but there has been no word on the future plans of the company for the site, Thrasher said.

    “We work with other developers, but own main developer is White Oaks Business Park and we work with Black Diamond Realty, Morgantown.

    Staff writer Darlene J. Swiger, The Exponent Telegram

  4. White Oaks Continues to Expand, Attract Variety of Industries – The State Journal WV

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    Nearly a decade after construction first began to develop White Oaks off Jerry Dove Drive, the Bridgeport business park continues to live up to the expectations of Woody Thrasher and Jack Keeley.

    “When I started to work with high tech, there were no buildings here,” said Ron Stanley, manager of the White Oaks development. “Steptoe & Johnson had just closed on their parcel, and shortly thereafter, Premier Bank did. It has really, I think, for our area, exploded.”

    Stanley said the boom of the oil and gas industry in the late 2000s significantly helped the complex take off. Click Here to continue reading.

    Click Here to View the Marketing Flyer for White Oaks Business Park.

  5. May Newsletter

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    View our May Newsletter: 100+ Acre Interstate Development Located In…

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