By SHELLEY HANSON
Special to the Herald-Star
WHEELING - The sale of the former Wheeling-Pittsburgh Steel headquarters in the downtown is pending with an $800,000 offer from a New Albany real estate investor.
The listing's agent, Jay Goodman of Harvey Goodman Realtor, said Monday that the Ohio company aims to purchase the building. But representatives first must determine whether it will be too expensive to bring the structure up to current fire and building codes. The company, the name of which Goodman declined to disclose because the deal is pending, plans to rent out office space at the site.
''He didn't make an offer until he thought it was a feasible project for them,'' Goodman said of the company. ''In a worst case scenario, if they decided the cost to renovate was too great, theoretically it could stop the transaction. ... They've done this before - buying troubled assets and turning them around.''
The last owner, RG Steel, lost the building during bankruptcy proceedings last year. The final sale must be approved in bankruptcy court, something Goodman estimated would happen in about 60-90 days.
Goodman said since the building was put on the market about three months ago, it has generated a lot of interest from people, some of whom wanted to use it for various types of housing. Those people decided, however, it would be too expensive - $3 million or more - to renovate the building for apartments, condominiums or low-income housing. Some said it would be cheaper to build a new structure.
Goodman added that although the building is for sale and not for rent, people looking to lease office space still inquired about the building. He noted the fifth and seventh floors don't need updating code-wise and are ready for use as soon as the building is sold.
Built in 1905, the building originally was listed at $900,000. Located at 1134 Market St., it offers 144,000 square feet of space and has 13 floors. While the sale includes the furniture, Goodman noted photos of the steelmaking process once located in the top-floor board room have vanished. He said he is not sure who took them.