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Old 08-07-2011, 10:17 PM
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There is no question the retail sector is fickle and fluid. It seems to fluctuate every 30 years with new developments. The old enclosed malls are becoming dinosaurs, being replaced by strip malls near big retail outlets... Walmart, Target, and in some instances huge specialty stores like Cabelas.

The mega Cabelas in Wheeling was a game changer for the whole area, and commercial developments near it affected shopping malls for 30 miles on all sides of it.
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Old 02-19-2014, 08:07 AM
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Good things are happening in Princeton thanks to the Princeton Renaissance Project. Princeton Renaissance Project is an initiative of Blueprint Communities, sponsored by The WV Community Development Hub. Blueprint is backed by The Benedum Foundation and FHL Bank of Pittsburgh. They have purchased the old King Theater on Mercer St. and have raised over $200K toward that project. Others in progress include a multi-wall mural project, a community garden and more! Check out the website Princeton Renaissance Project and a Facebook group can be found there as well.
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Old 02-20-2014, 11:27 AM
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It doesn't help either that city governments don't adapt to the changing times. Part of the reason for the demise of downtown areas is that fact that parking is free and readily accessible at business locations outside of the downtown areas. Still, rather than adapt, the cities continue to look at parking as a revenue source driving even more downtown businesses under. The meters, garages for pay, and legions of parking police put more nails in the coffins of the downtown areas.

Wheeling was especially blessed with outstanding downtown assets due to the incredible amount of old money that once inhabited that area. The iron/steel/tobacco/glass/coal magnates who once resided there left a legacy that could have been exploited long after the super rich shipped the production jobs to cheap labor countries. Unfortunately, special interests ruled the day, and much of that legacy has now been forever squandered. Wheeling once had the possibility of becoming like Charleston, SC in terms of tourism attractiveness with the magnificent architecture and historic buildings. While much of that remains in place, enough of it has been destroyed that the potential is greatly reduced.

Without a dramatic change in mindset, I do not see a lot of real, long term hope for the downtown areas of any of our significant towns in West Virginia with the exception of Morgantown, and even here it is only due to the massive presence of many thousands of residential students, who won't be hopping in cars and driving to the suburbs to shop. City government sure can't claim credit for it. The pull of the students is so strong here that it even makes the pay for parking scenario highly profitable for the city. It also guarantees the viability of the downtown area.
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