April 07, 2022
Historic Fort Henry Building Signs Anchor Tenant
For Immediate Release
April 7, 2022
Wheeling, W.Va. – The historic Fort Henry Building will once again be fully occupied and active. After the completion of an 8-million-dollar investment to update the structure, the building will house several professional offices. The Fort Henry Building is the former home of the Fort Henry Club; the building is now owned by McKinley Architecture and Engineering. The firm is an expert in historic preservation, with a lengthy list of completed historic preservation projects.
This rehabilitation project began 6 years ago with current tenant State of WV Division of Rehabilitation Services. David H. McKinley, Chairman of McKinley Architecture and Engineering, stated, “WVDRS was the very first tenant of the building, without whom, we could not move forward. They shared the vision of what the building could become while respecting the restoration of WV’s history.”
The renovations are to comply with the United States Secretary of the Interior’s guidelines for historic preservation and restoration. The West Virginia State Historic Preservation Office was the driving force behind the rehabilitation of the building with guidance, expertise, and grant funding for the building. Commissioner Randall Reid-Smith offered, “The staff and I at the WV Department of Arts, Culture and History congratulate McKinley Architecture and Engineering on the successful rehabilitation of the Fort Henry Club. Since the purchase of the building, they have worked tirelessly to restore this 1922 historic building designed by the Wheeling architects, Franzheim, Bates and Faris. Following federal guidelines to take advantage of state development grants and historic rehabilitation tax credits, the building has a new lease on life. The rebirth of this building is a shining beacon of the ‘can do spirit’ for Wheeling!”
The law firm Steptoe & Johnson PLLC has signed to be the anchor tenant of the historic Fort Henry Building, announced today, which secures their presence in the Wheeling market. “We are very pleased to have the law firm of Steptoe & Johnson as an anchor tenant,” said David H. McKinley. “Steptoe & Johnson has more than 100 years of practice in West Virginia and across the U.S. We are honored that they are continuing to practice in Wheeling and have chosen the Fort Henry Building, which also has a rich history.”
“Since the early 90s when the firm opened its Wheeling office, Steptoe & Johnson has been committed to the City of Wheeling and the surrounding Ohio Valley. Our move into the renovated Fort Henry Building represents that ongoing commitment to our community, which we intend to carry forward for many years to come,” said Wheeling Office Managing Member, Ben McFarland. “Our new office will allow us to serve local and regional clients in a collaborative manner and provide them with the highest level of client service.”
Christina Schessler, AIA, historic preservation architect for McKinley Architecture and Engineering, stated, “For us, saving the Fort Henry Club building is the goal. The Club and the building have played an important part in the history and traditions of Wheeling. Most people do not know this, but some important and impressive people have walked these corridors. Charles Lindbergh (internationally known aviator), Babe Ruth (professional baseball player that hit his last two home runs at Forbes Field in Pittsburgh), Jimmy Stewart (“It’s a Wonderful Life” star, from Indiana, PA) and President Herbert Hoover (31st president of the United States) are just a few of the names we found in the local history books covering Wheeling. All these people have influenced our national history, and they all stopped at the Fort Henry Club.”
The final major new tenant of the 36,000 sq. ft. building will be McKinley Architecture and Engineering themselves. McKinley’s new offices incorporate a traditional shared studio space that provides the latest in design technology allowing both group interaction and privacy. The open studio environment encourages creative dialogue essential to the process of design. Our space will be both flexible and static that will encourage our staff to meet and share design concepts and practical experience. Several areas provide staff the newest technologies to assemble and display drawings in all phases from design to construction completion. Our goal was to provide a unique, culturally improved atmosphere for young and experienced staff that enhances the everyday necessity to breathe, move, and connect.
“It is great to see more private investment in the City of Wheeling,” commented Glenn Elliot, Mayor of Wheeling. “McKinley Architecture and Engineering has a particular expertise in the areas of historic rehabilitation and adaptive reuse, and Wheeling is a city loaded with such opportunities. Historic preservation may be challenging and expensive, but if done right, the results can really enhance a city’s authentic sense of place and economic viability.”
McKinley added, “With any project of this size there are always challenges. We had to navigate the fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic, supply chain delays and economic slow-down. Protecting historical structures is expensive, but worthwhile. To find comparable buildings, we had to look to Pittsburgh.”
The building still has 3700 sq. ft. of leasable space. For more information, please contact Lori Payne, CAO, Willow Glen Capital at (304) 281-6746 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
McKinley Architecture and Engineering is a multi-discipline, full-service firm providing architectural, engineering, design, and construction contract administration services. For over 65 years, McKinley has become a well-known name in the region evolving into the leading architectural and engineering firm in WV, OH & PA. We utilize a business model structured for efficiency offering comprehensive professional services across a wide landscape of client categories. Our architects, engineers, and technicians are all in-house, creating optimum communication and collaboration, which results in outstanding service to our clients. We also have LEED Accredited Professionals, a Historic Preservationist, a Qualified Commissioning Process Provider, an Interior Designer, an Accredited Learning Environment Planner, and a Recognized Educational Facilities Planner. “McKinley Architecture and Engineering has been Nationally ranked, for the second year in a row, on the Inc.5000 list of growing companies,” stated Ernie Dellatorre, Director of Business Development, “and we are confident about our future.”
For more information, please see these news articles:
Fort Henry Building To See New Life, New Tenants by 2023
The Fort Henry Building to get tenants, new life by 2023
Photo by Derek Redd, The Intelligencer / Wheeling News Register – The Fort Henry Building, an integral part of Wheeling’s history, will soon have new tenants. Pictured are, bottom row, from left, David Valentine of the West Virginia Department of Rehabilitation Services; Kurt Zende, Wheeling Area Chamber of Commerce President; David H. McKinley, chairman of McKinley Architecture and Engineering; Bill Wilmoth, Steptoe & Johnson; Wheeling Mayor Glenn Elliott; and Ernie Dellatorre, McKinley Architecture and Engineering. Second row, from left, are Ben McFarland, Steptoe & Johnson; Josh Jefferson, Regional Economic Development Partnership; Debbie Moore, WVDRS; Marlene Evans, WVDRS; Katie Herrmann, Steptoe & Johnson; Christina Schessler, McKinley Architecture and Engineering; and Aaron Johnon, WVDRS.