Mills Group Historic Tax Credit Project Awarded Top Prize

Sep 28 2015 — Monday

On September 26, 2015, the Preservation Alliance of West Virginia (PAWV) held their annual awards banquet recognizing outstanding achievements in historic preservation. PAWV awarded GJR Enterprises the Best Use of Historic Tax Credits Award for its use of tax credits in rehabilitating the Riley Law Building in downtown Wheeling.

Vic Greco of Mills Group oversaw the rehabilitation of the former Riley Law Building, now the Kaley Center, on the northwest corner of Fourteenth and Chapline Streets in Wheeling’s Central Business District which served as a catalyst for the revitalization of other monumental buildings. As a contributing resource to the National Register listed Wheeling Historic District, the building’s owner was able to take advantage of historic rehabilitation tax credits.

Renowned architect Charles ,W. Bates designed the ten-story masonry structure in 1922. The building contains typical characteristics of early 20th century commercial architecture, including a slender rectangular floor plan and a uniform and logical façade, with the dramatic fenestration accenting its verticality. The open floor plan is constructed with formed-in-place concrete columns, beams, and floor slabs. The exterior is accented with several types of brick coursing, along with limestone accent banding and other details along the cornice.

Since tenants occupied the building during the renovation, the project was completed in multiple phases. The first phase included an exterior restoration where the façade’s brick and limestone accents were cleaned and restored; and the exposed steel lintels at the windows and door openings were recoated and/or replaced. New insulated double-hung windows and trim, which matched the size, scale and color of the originals, replaced the 1970s bronze aluminum single glazed windows. Once the new windows were installed, the architect’s original design intent - expressing the strong contrast between the brick veneer and the fenestration – once again became prominent.

The second phase of the rehabilitation included the installation of new mechanical, electrical, plumbing, and fire protection systems - along with a generator that brought the building into code and energy compliance. New equipment and cab finishes improved the existing elevators, while the interior was completely renovated with new finishes that complement the existing conditions.

The final phase of the project included improving site conditions with new landscaping, paving and parking lot control.

Though the building serves multiple tenants, the building primarily functions as the corporate headquarters for a national roofing company that employs nearly 80 personnel.

The rehabilitation of the Kaley Center has dramatically improved the skyline of Wheeling and has fostered an interest in the continuing revitalization of other historic buildings in the downtown.

Mills Group is pleased that the completed rehabilitation of the building has made impact on the community.