Lofty project

The renovation of Marietta’s historic St. Clair Building into an upscale apartment complex will take a bit longer than originally expected, as the project has been expanded to include completion of all nine loft units before tenants can move in.

“Our original plan was to build three apartments at first, and complete the other six later. But since then we’ve decided to have all nine units done, which will take about seven more months-probably by October,” said John Jack, consultant on the project for Triad Hunter LLC, the local oil and gas company that purchased the St. Clair property last year.

Jack said all of the apartment units, ranging in size between 900 and 2,200 square feet, have already been leased to employees of the Hunter group of companies that include Triad Hunter energy and production; Eureka Hunter pipeline; Green Hunter Water water handling and disposal; and Alpha Hunter drilling.

Work on the building renovation began in October but was delayed due to some unexpected asbestos abatement that had to be performed after the substance was discovered in some floor tiles and pipe insulation.

Jack said that work has been completed, as well as structural reinforcement and installation of sub-flooring throughout the 25,000-square-foot building.

“It’s a big job. This is probably the largest building we’ve ever done,” said Steve Westfall, owner of Westfall Construction, contractor for the project.

He noted that the 114-year-old building was solid and well-built.

“As John always says, ‘It had good bones,'” Westfall said.

Jack said the building is now ready for work to begin on the individual units.

“Framing of the units should begin next week,” he said.

The renovation will be a major improvement for the downtown area, according to Jean G. Farmer, executive director of Marietta Main Street.

“This is exactly the type of revitalization we’re looking for,” she said. “This will bring all kinds of new people into the downtown area and spur even more development.”

Mayor Joe Matthews said the project is good news for downtown, and the city.

“This building is a landmark in Marietta, and we appreciate Triad Hunter purchasing and renovating it, and they’re going to do it right,” he said.

Matthews said, thanks to such projects, Marietta’s downtown area is in better shape than some other cities up and down the Ohio River.

“But we would love to see more buildings renovated in town,” he said. “Our development department maintains an inventory of buildings that are currently available, and anyone interested can contact development director Andy Coleman (at 373-9354) to learn more.”