BECKLEY, WV (WVNS) — A group of investors in Raleigh County look to bring new life to Beckley.
A beaming marketplace known across the state, a literal gateway to the rest of the country. In many ways, Beckley sits as a major hub in Southern West Virginia. But some Raleigh County residents are frustrated with what the area lacks.
“I think Beckley is really ready and looking for not only something to do but to be a draw for our area here we are positioned between Princeton Bluefield and Fayetteville on your way to charleston also, and we are kind of a gateway, and unfortunately, outside of chain restaurants and hotels we don’t have anything that is a draw for our community,” said Brian Brown, a local real estate agent and developer.
Brown was born and raised in Beckley, the memories of a bustling business center throughout the city still sit fresh in his mind. He wants to use one of the city’s surpluses for positive change and growth.
“One of the things that we have no shortage of is abandoned buildings it would be great if those building owners would release those properties to people who are going to put them back into work. Fortunately, we are starting to see that a little bit,” said Brown.
Now Brown and a group of investors are ready to put their money where their mouth is. They are in the final stages of purchasing five abandoned buildings, valued at $750,000. While finishing the process and rezoning three of the buildings from manufacturing to business.
While many might just see several empty structures, they see untapped potential.
“Every day I would drive to drop the kid off at school at Mabscott elementary and I would pass by here and I could just envision people sitting outside and eating and having great food and conversations and socializing and to me, it just felt like the absolute right place to attempt to do something like that for our community,” said Brown.
Local restaurants, a bar, a cafe, and spaces for connection and fellowship, represent a shortlist of what they want to do with the area.
While it is still very early in the process, Brown’s goal is to have several businesses up and running by late spring of this year. A trend he hopes will spread throughout the rest of the city.