Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

July 23, 2013

Big box chains eyeing properties off Rt. 460

By CHARLES OWENS
Bluefield Daily Telegraph

PRINCETON — Although no property has been purchased to date, two long-requested big box chains are apparently taking a serious look at Mercer County.

“They have looked at both Princeton and the Oakvale area, and also west toward the Virginia line,” Mercer County Development Authority Executive Director Janet Bailey said of the Target and Home Depot chains. “I feel very positive that the area will have a lot of growth in the near future, and their representatives have been looking, but so far there have been no purchases made or (signatures) on the dotted lines. But I look for it to happen.”

Bailey said representatives of both big box chains have made multiple visits to the area.

“You would have a lot of other industries that follow a Home Depot or Target that locates in the area,” Bailey said. “You would have a lot of spin-off businesses. I do feel good about it. Retail hasn’t been hurt as bad as our coal industry or manufacturing industries.”

The chances of a new shopping center housing a Target, Home Depot or other national chain also have increased with the addition of public drinking water along U.S. Route 460 toward Oakvale and the Virginia state line, according to Robert Farley, executive director of the Princeton-Mercer County Chamber of Commerce.

“This year they got water all the way down to Oakvale, and they didn’t have water before,” Farley said last week. “It stopped before at Walmart (in Princeton).”

Farley said representatives of Target and Home Depot are still looking at property east of Interstate 77 on U.S. Route 460. He said representatives of the two stores have been in the Mercer County area “a couple of times” looking at sites.

Bailey said officials continue to market Mercer County to both prospective retail developments, and potential manufacturing firms. She says discussions are continuing with two potential manufacturing firms.

“We are continuing to market Mercer County as an excellent place for business and industry,” Bailey said.

– Contact Charles Owens at cowens@bdtonline.com