Cumberland Times-News

July 31, 2013

Grand Central Business Center closing at year’s end

Tenants told to vacate former Keyser High School

Elaine Blaisdell
Cumberland Times-News

— KEYSER, W.Va. — The Grand Central Business Center is closing effective Dec. 31 and tenants have to be out of the building by then, according to a letter dated June 24 from Frederick A. Thayer, First United Bank & Trust vice president.

“The bank is taking this step reluctantly and only after several years of operating the building in hopes of finding a purchaser,” wrote Thayer in the letter. “Our goal in announcing our decision six months in advance is to give you ample time to find alternative arrangements.”

At an auction in 2011, First United purchased the Grand Central Business Center for $1,350,000 from the Warner family, who declared bankruptcy. The bank did own a portion of the mortgage on the building.

Gina Spriggs, director of the Catamount Children’s Center, doesn’t think the letter provided enough notice for relocation.

“I don’t feel as a child care center we have had enough time to relocate. There is a lot involved in relocating,” said Spriggs, who added that child care centers have to meet the licensing requirements of the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources.

Spriggs said the center is working on a plan for relocation and that visits have been made to a few potential locations.

The children’s center, which has been located in the building for 13 years, has a maximum capacity for 58 children.

The building also houses Spirit 101 FM a Christian radio station that has been located there for about 10 years, and RK&K Engineering.

Dick Long of Spirit 101 said the station has one option for relocation but the engineer has to check and see if that location is feasible.

“We need a line of sight from our studio to the Pinnacle, the location of our transmitter and tower.” he said.

David Vanscoy, director, municipal and transportation engineering at RK&K, declined to comment on the company’s plans for relocation.

Coldwell Banker is listing the 40,000-square-foot building for a price of $1.5 million. The building was built in 1909 and was the former site of Keyser High School. The building has since undergone massive renovations and is now a mixed-use business and residential building, according to the Coldwell Banker website.

“No purchaser has stepped forward and as banks are not in the real estate rental business, we have made the choice to close the building,” wrote Thayer in the letter.

The building also houses ResCare, a gym, and 14 apartment units for private rental.

Thayer was unavailable for comment.

Contact Elaine Blaisdell at eblaisdell@times-news.com.