Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

Local News

January 8, 2013

Big box stores eye I-77 exits for development

PRINCETON — Two major retailers are still looking at Mercer County interstate exits as sites for possible future development.

Robert Farley, executive director of the Princeton-Mercer County Chamber of Commerce, said Target and Home Depot have taken a second look at the area around Exit 9 in Princeton.

“We have had people from Home Depot and Target look at that area,” Farley said. “They were looking at properties within the last month, I would say. We have water down on that side of Exit 9 toward Oakvale, and there is a lot of property available for development. Before, the water lines stopped at Walmart and didn’t go out toward Oakvale. Water, along with electricity, is infrastructure that is a necessity for development. You can’t do anything without water. I think that area will be the next big development area. In my opinion, that is the perfect location for a big box store.”

Farley said there is only one vacant property on the western side of Exit 9 ready for development.

“The former Kmart property is owned by New People’s Bank,” he said. “A new for sale sign went up there about a month ago, but we haven’t heard anything from them about interest in the property. That property is the only vacant property on the west side of Interstate 77 at Exit 9, so it is a good location.”

Farley said there are also hints of new development at the Exit 14 interchange.

“Exit 14 near Athens will be another big development spot,” Farley said. “New River Community and Technical College looked at properties on that exit to give them more room. National College looked there before they set up their current location. I think we will see a lot more people looking at property on this exit.”

Easy access and high visibility from the interstate are two reasons why developers often opt for properties along exits.

“People like property near these exits because you can just get on and off to shop,” Farley said. “It makes a big difference. You get not only the local traffic but people who are just coming through the area. Interstate exits are also highly visible.”

Farley said development at Exit 9 and Exit 14 could bring more revenue in to the county as a whole.

“It would be good not just for Princeton but for this whole county,” he said. “Things work slowly, especially during election years. People want to see who is going into office and what taxes will be like following the election. We are hoping 2013 will be a very busy year for us. We are on the edge of some big things in Mercer County and in southern West Virginia.”

— Contact Kate Coil at kcoil@bdtonline.com

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