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Old 06-01-2009, 11:41 AM
 
Location: Huntington, WV
4,153 posts, read 6,866,822 times
Reputation: 768

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Matt, believe me I take a very realistic approach to my optimism of Huntington. I'm a guy who studies the numbers a lot and I don't make a judgement based solely on my opinion. I see population losses begining to level out which is a must before they start on an upswing. I see buildings that have sat empty for my whole life being renovated and filled with new residents and businesses. I see a community eager for change and many getting behind these new movements, not just the city leaders. Crime is down, many property values are up and new policies are being instituted to make things better. One example is where there was no organized, city wide clean up before, now they will be doing it every 6 months. That makes a huge difference. And my knowledge of these things isn't just as an observer, I'm involved with many of these efforts and know a little more about what's going on than the average joe on the street.

And CT, yes a dress shop closed but if there was no market for that type of business here then why did a new clothing store JUST open up across the street after the other shop announced it's closing? How does another shop across the street stay in business when they sell one shirt for over $200? The owner died and they never even attempted to put the store up for sale, they just announced it was closing. Likely, they already have another business that has purchased that space and is looking to move in. That's what happened with a furniture store here recently. Family owned and no one wanted to carry it on so they announced their closing. Before they even started cutting merchandise prices, they announced that a local development company had bought the buidling with plans to renovate and add upscale retail on the bottom with business and living spaces in the upper floors. They are renovating that structure right now.

http://www.herald-dispatch.com/archi...owner-dies?r=s

http://www.herald-dispatch.com/archi...n-building?r=s

And yes, CSX is growing here. At the end of March 2009 they employed 200 more workers than they did in April 2008. They also just built a $4.5 million dispatching center where the average worker earns $115,000/year. That's a little bit more than minimum wage at Wal-greens. And also, only 23 people lost their jobs at the river loading company, not 50 as you claimed. They employed 50 people at the height of opeerations but it didn't note in the article when that was. There were currently only 23 there.

CSX pushing forward in Tri-State - The Herald Dispatch (http://www.herald-dispatch.com/archive/x1578951235/CSX-pushing-forward-in-Tri-State?r=s - broken link)

And even though the restaurant at Pullman was in a great location there, it wasn't a good place for a Mexican restaurant. For about the same price and almost as quick, there's one authentic mexican restaurant one block up and another one four blocks away. Not to mention a Taco Bell nearby as well. Their menu was VERY limited and the prices were too high, especially with the competition that was close by.

And while Spurlock Dodge did lose its franchise, they are still open and plan on staying open. Morgantown lost a Chrysler and a GM franchise and has had many restaurants close lately. They also just announced that some places up there have to cut 50% of their staff over the summer to make up for the loss in students. Does that mean their economy is going to pot now? I'd have to say no. You have to look at the bigger picture. Could it cause some problems up there, most definately. Especially if new developments continue to pull existing businesses out of city limits.

You may have personal experience with Wheeling, but Huntington is no Wheeling. And, actually living here, I think I have a little better feel for what's going on in Huntington than you do. From someone who actually lives here and has seen things change, things are on the upswing.
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Old 06-01-2009, 02:40 PM
 
Location: WV and Eastport Maine
1,324 posts, read 2,552,893 times
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My son is a teacher in Huntington - he travels to most of the elementary schools in Huntington on a weekly basis. According to him, there is population growth in the schools now - all of them, not just the best and worst schools in town. He feels like growth in school populations equals growth in the city itself and I agree.
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Old 06-01-2009, 04:05 PM
 
9,414 posts, read 11,492,114 times
Reputation: 1508
Quote:
Originally Posted by tbailey1138 View Post
Matt, believe me I take a very realistic approach to my optimism of Huntington. I'm a guy who studies the numbers a lot and I don't make a judgement based solely on my opinion. I see population losses begining to level out which is a must before they start on an upswing. I see buildings that have sat empty for my whole life being renovated and filled with new residents and businesses. I see a community eager for change and many getting behind these new movements, not just the city leaders. Crime is down, many property values are up and new policies are being instituted to make things better. One example is where there was no organized, city wide clean up before, now they will be doing it every 6 months. That makes a huge difference. And my knowledge of these things isn't just as an observer, I'm involved with many of these efforts and know a little more about what's going on than the average joe on the street.

And CT, yes a dress shop closed but if there was no market for that type of business here then why did a new clothing store JUST open up across the street after the other shop announced it's closing? How does another shop across the street stay in business when they sell one shirt for over $200? The owner died and they never even attempted to put the store up for sale, they just announced it was closing. Likely, they already have another business that has purchased that space and is looking to move in. That's what happened with a furniture store here recently. Family owned and no one wanted to carry it on so they announced their closing. Before they even started cutting merchandise prices, they announced that a local development company had bought the buidling with plans to renovate and add upscale retail on the bottom with business and living spaces in the upper floors. They are renovating that structure right now.

http://www.herald-dispatch.com/archi...owner-dies?r=s

Redevelopment planned for landmark downtown building - The Herald Dispatch

And yes, CSX is growing here. At the end of March 2009 they employed 200 more workers than they did in April 2008. They also just built a $4.5 million dispatching center where the average worker earns $115,000/year. That's a little bit more than minimum wage at Wal-greens. And also, only 23 people lost their jobs at the river loading company, not 50 as you claimed. They employed 50 people at the height of opeerations but it didn't note in the article when that was. There were currently only 23 there.

CSX pushing forward in Tri-State - The Herald Dispatch (http://www.herald-dispatch.com/archive/x1578951235/CSX-pushing-forward-in-Tri-State?r=s - broken link)

And even though the restaurant at Pullman was in a great location there, it wasn't a good place for a Mexican restaurant. For about the same price and almost as quick, there's one authentic mexican restaurant one block up and another one four blocks away. Not to mention a Taco Bell nearby as well. Their menu was VERY limited and the prices were too high, especially with the competition that was close by.

And while Spurlock Dodge did lose its franchise, they are still open and plan on staying open. Morgantown lost a Chrysler and a GM franchise and has had many restaurants close lately. They also just announced that some places up there have to cut 50% of their staff over the summer to make up for the loss in students. Does that mean their economy is going to pot now? I'd have to say no. You have to look at the bigger picture. Could it cause some problems up there, most definately. Especially if new developments continue to pull existing businesses out of city limits.

You may have personal experience with Wheeling, but Huntington is no Wheeling. And, actually living here, I think I have a little better feel for what's going on in Huntington than you do. From someone who actually lives here and has seen things change, things are on the upswing.
Tim, ... I don't want to rain on your parade, believe me. You are correct about the river loading company employing 23 people and they are all losing their jobs. The place is shutting down:

http://www.herald-dispatch.com/archive/x90205294/Ingram-Marine- (broken link)

As to CSX employing 200 more people at the end of march than they did in April 08, that might be so, but look what is happening in the area:

CSX laying off 132 workers at Buffalo rail yard - The Herald Dispatch

132 of those jobs just moved to western New York.

I hope your assumption is correct that they already have a tenant for the dress shop. Time will tell. And, I hope the renovated former furniture building is able to secure tenants. What I do know is that the a major portion of the Pullman is having trouble meeting the lease payments. And, that Mexican restaurant might have been overpriced, but it was in the primo location, wasn't it? If I'm not mistaken, that was the third restaurant to fail there. The fact that rent is five times higher in Pullman than other rents in the vicinity just might have something to do with the pricing.

And, Tim... I'm 66 years old and familiar with both Huntington and Wheeling. I haven't been in downtown Huntington for 9 months (I was in the mall in Barboursville three months ago) it is true, but it's hard for me to imagine that things have changed all that much in nine months. I remember when Huntington really was a nice town. The only real difference between Wheeling and Huntington is Marshall is somewhat larger than Wheeling Jesuit. You could substitute the mega steel (and related industry) operations in Wheeling for the industry that has been in Huntington and it would mostly be a wash. Marshall's size has kept Huntington from losing as many people, it is true, but the overall loss of industrial jobs is taking a huge toll on both towns.

Like Huntington, Wheeling's decline has slowed due to the increased demand for coal but unfortunately that is cyclical, so we can expect some ups and downs there.

I don't know that any of this has to do with Morgantown but, the Chrysler dealership in Morgantown is also staying open with other brands, and Chrysler products will continue to be available at the location on Don Knotts Blvd. I don't know what the Huntington dealership is going to do, but I would imagine it is something similar. If a Morgantown GM dealer is losing its franchise, that's news to me. Do you have a link? Any list I have seen has closings in several towns in WV but not Huntington or Morgantown.

Tim,... there are 25,000 students living in Morgantown during the major school year. Most go home for the summer or have summer jobs at the shore. Restaurants always open and close based on that population's whereabouts, and I am not aware of a single restaurant in a prime location that has closed. WVU has a much larger resident population than does Marshall... much larger, and Marshall is mostly a commuter school, not that there is anything wrong with that, but the results for the community are markedly different.

The difference between WVU and MU in terms of growth is West Virginia's is demand driven while Marshall is trying to create a demand using discounts and shifting existing resources. I'm sure you know what I mean by that. The results are predictable. It's no secret that I think President Kopp is seriously harming the school. I'm an alumnus... he knows how I feel about it. If he lasts three more years there I will be greatly surprised.

As to comparing Morgantown and Huntington, the prospects are very different, at least in the foreseeable future.
Forbes produced the following date in their March report on the matter:

Household Income
Morgantown $43,329
Huntington $38,921

High School Attainment
Morgantown 81%
Huntington 76.7%

College Attainment
Morgantown 26%
Huntington 14.8%

Income Growth
Morgantown 6.3%
Huntington 4.1%

Job Growth
Morgantown 2.8%
Huntington 0.7%

Unemployment
Morgantown 3.3%
Huntington 5.3%

Job Growth Projected
Morgantown 0.7%
Huntington -0.4%

Crime Rate Index
Morgantown 25
Huntington 70

Last edited by CTMountaineer; 06-01-2009 at 05:28 PM..
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Old 06-01-2009, 07:12 PM
 
Location: Arlington, VA
1,269 posts, read 3,339,008 times
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I'm a WVU alum that visits Morgantown fairly often and I also am not aware of the many restaurants that have closed recently. The only place I can think of is the Brew Pub which of course I will greatly miss! Even though I grew up in Charleston I can say that probably the only bright star in West Virginia at the moment seems to be the Morgantown area which is still growing through many spinoff industries related to the University. The Eastern Panhandle is still growing faster than anywhere else in the state but that is entirely exurban spillover from high growth and high housing costs in the DC area. Most people in Jefferson and Berkeley counties work in VA, MD, and DC.
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Old 06-01-2009, 09:10 PM
 
Location: Huntington, WV
4,153 posts, read 6,866,822 times
Reputation: 768
Wow! I use Morgantown to show that because a dealership loses a franchise and a restaurant or two closes, that it doesn't mean the economy is going to pot and you try to turn this into a Morgantown/WVU vs Huntington/MU thing yet again. Not surprising.

The GM franchise on the list from Morgantown was Premier Pontiac, Buick, GMC. They would neither confirm nor deny this though and GM left it up to the franchise as to whether or not they would release that info. Now that they have filed bankruptcy, the list will have to be disclosed so we will see. Here's the link.

GM Dealership Closing List (Updating Constantly) - Page 14 - GM Inside News Forum

Area GM Dealers Receive Letters That They May Be Phased Out - WBOY-TV - WBOY.com (http://wboy.com/story.cfm?func=viewstory&storyid=59067 - broken link)

And CSX laying off 132 workers at a Buffalo, NY railyard affects Huntington, WV how?

Also, businesses at Pullman are not having trouble making their rents. It's the development company that is having trouble making payments to TTA. Big difference. Businesses there are doing fine for the most part, except the one that was repetitive and overpriced.

But since you visited Huntington for a few days 9 months ago, you know more about what's going on than I do though, right?

And mtneeratheart, I should have said a few rather than many. Bad choice of words. The Brew Pub was one along with Firkin and Fox as well as Boathouse Bistro that had to close as an upscale establishment and remodel to be more of a coffee house/restaurant. All are in "prime" locations I would say.

Again though, they were just used as an example because CT was claiming that a single restaurant closing is a bad sign when it happens in Huntington but it's simply a sign of not being competitive if it happens in Morgantown. I was merely attempting to show the double standard he often uses. Nothing more.
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Old 06-01-2009, 09:12 PM
 
Location: New Creek, WV
275 posts, read 617,062 times
Reputation: 211
I am originally from the Eastern Panhandle (Mineral County) and it has been growing A LOT lately. Not only is it near to D.C. and Baltimore, but many people live in the panhandle, and commute daily to Winchester, VA for jobs. I can honestly say that we have thought of moving back up that way because of the job growth, and, well, my entire immediate family is up there.

Potomac State College brings in a lot of students each year, which brings in more business. Along with that, you also have Shenendoah, Frostburg State University (MD), and other schools too.

I think that is definitely the best growing area in the state now.
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Old 06-01-2009, 09:13 PM
 
Location: Knoxville, Tennessee
424 posts, read 1,082,929 times
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Ok Tim, now you just sound defensive....
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Old 06-01-2009, 09:18 PM
 
Location: Huntington, WV
4,153 posts, read 6,866,822 times
Reputation: 768
You have to be with some of the stuff CT tries to post. And unfortunately, I'm not a guy who can often just let it go. I try though.

Last edited by tbailey1138; 06-01-2009 at 10:20 PM..
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Old 06-01-2009, 09:25 PM
 
9,414 posts, read 11,492,114 times
Reputation: 1508
Quote:
Originally Posted by mtneeratheart View Post
I'm a WVU alum that visits Morgantown fairly often and I also am not aware of the many restaurants that have closed recently. The only place I can think of is the Brew Pub which of course I will greatly miss! Even though I grew up in Charleston I can say that probably the only bright star in West Virginia at the moment seems to be the Morgantown area which is still growing through many spinoff industries related to the University. The Eastern Panhandle is still growing faster than anywhere else in the state but that is entirely exurban spillover from high growth and high housing costs in the DC area. Most people in Jefferson and Berkeley counties work in VA, MD, and DC.
I'll miss the Brew Pub too if it doesn't reopen. I was under the impression that was in the works, at least there was a sign in the window saying as much the last time I looked. That said, it wouldn't surprise me if that whole side of the street down to the Westover Bridge is torn down for road construction. I know that is hugely needed. Same with the river side of Beechurst and including the old Fieldhouse. I think some of the student oriented sandwich shops do close for the summer.

I agree about the Eastern Panhandle. My daughter and son-in-law are teachers living in Martinsburg (he teaches in Berkeley and she teaches in Hagerstown). That area is booming too, but the growth is of a different nature than it is in Morgantown, which is mostly related to white collar jobs. In Martinsburg is it like they are moving part of DC to the town. But, clearly the State's future is in the Eastern Panhandle and Northcentral, and to some extent Putnam County. As a Wheeling native, it pains me to see that area basically static like Huntington and Charleston. When I was young those were the three major towns in the State.
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Old 06-02-2009, 04:15 AM
 
Location: Elkins, WV
1,981 posts, read 5,228,777 times
Reputation: 807
Local Developers Revitalize Downtown Huntington

Check out that link for some great news about Huntington's revitalizing downtown.
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