Five Guys possible for Highlands location

WHEELING – A Five Guys Burgers and Fries restaurant and a Taco Bell are among tenants that could be locating to the Highlands in Ohio County, but county commissioners caution any plans there are tentative.

This week the Ohio County Development Authority finalized a sales deal with developer United Growth of San Rafael, Calif., in which the developer paid $900,000 for 2 acres of land west of the Fusion restaurant at the Highlands.

The company’s website indicates it plans to bring a Five Guys and Taco Bell to the property, as well as Kay Jewelers, GNC, Great Clips and Sprint stores. United Growth plans to build two buildings on its 2 acres, and these will be separated by a patio.

The development will be across the street from where a Primanti Bros. restaurant is being constructed. Primanti Bros. is expected to open in mid-October following construction delays caused by the weather, authority members said this week.

Calls to United Growth and the Five Guys headquarters were not immediately returned. But Ohio County Commissioner Orphy Klempa said plans at The Highlands are often subject to change, and expected stores and their locations there are tentative.

“There is some shifting around of existing tenants that is being talked about,” he said.

Commissioner Tim McCormick also took pause after seeing the names on the list.

“The key word is ‘tentative,'” he said. “Some of those are correct, some are very wrong. We can’t divulge yet what is planned for there, and we can’t announce any tenants. If United wants to do that, they can.”

McCormick said the Development Authority has achieved much diversity at the Highlands, mixing office, medical and distribution businesses amid retail offerings.

“There are some things in the hopper that could put a lot of people to work to build,” he said. “Once they are operational, they will put a lot of other people to work, no matter what it is.”

Klempa said while some retail stores are being affected by online shopping, the Highlands should prove successful because of its diversity and the number of restaurants on the property that will bring people to the development.

“There are a lot of people doing shopping online, but I don’t know anybody who can eat online,” he said. “You can’t. I don’t care how hard you try.”