By Wendy Holdren
A 22-acre medical park is currently under construction as part of the Woodlands Economic Development Initiative, which was established in 2000.
Woodlands Medical Park is located on a portion of Beaver Coal Co.’s Grey Flats property, approximately 500 acres of land that is traversed by the new East Beckley Bypass.
Woody Duba, general manager of Beaver Coal, said the initial development of the property began in 1995 when his company participated in a public/private economic development project with the 4-C Economic Development Authority and Nancy Pat Smith. That project is now known as Pinecrest Technological Park.
Beaver Coal contributed 75 acres which was used for the YMCA Paul Cline Memorial Youth Sports Complex, with a 25-acre reservation held as a potential relocation area for Little League baseball fields.
In 1998, Beaver Coal partnered with the YMCA of Southern West Virginia and brought the First Tee Foundation to Beckley. The following year, the company allowed First Tee to use 12 acres on Grey Flats as a location for its Learning Center.
Duba said these developments had a major influence in the construction of the first section of the East Beckley Bypass.
In 2000, the Beckley Jobs Foundation was established under the first board of directors, including Austin Caperton, Bill Baker, Father Tom Acker, Emmett Pugh, Pete Torrico, Nancy Kissinger, Tom Cochran and Duba.
Duba said the Jobs Foundation is dedicated to creating higher paying jobs in the Beckley area and its first project was establishing the Woodlands Economic Development Initiative.
The Woodlands is a strategic location for a wide range of businesses providing convenient access to North America’s most lucrative markets, according to Duba.
“This development area is located along a 10-mile section of I-64 bounded on the west by I-77 and on the east by New River.”
He said Beaver Coal contributed 33 acres along I-64 for the creation of the Erma C. Byrd Higher Education Center, the first major success of this initiative.
In the past 10 years, the Woodlands Initiative has included the development of Phase Two of the Airport Industrial Park by the Raleigh County Commission and led by airport manager Tom Cochran, the construction by Beaver Coal of the newest subdivision in Beckley on Grey Flats known as Woodlands Village, the construction by Beaver Coal of an office for the West Virginia Soccer Association on Grey Flats, and the location of two new businesses on Beaver Coal property within the Woodlands: Turnkey Building Solutions and Silverpoint Homes.
In 2012, New River Community and Technical College committed to the development of a new campus within the Woodlands and adjacent to the Erma C. Byrd Center.
The completion of the East Beckley Bypass from I-64 to Stanaford Road (and eventually to W.Va. 16 at Industrial Drive in 2015) has opened the door to new economic development opportunities on Grey Flats, Duba said.
“The first fruits of this new opportunity will be the 22-acre medical park now under construction by Woodlands Amenities LLC.”
Woodlands Amenities is currently building the medical building for the Fresenius Medical Group within the medical park. When it is completed in April, Fresenius will serve the community by providing the newest method of kidney dialysis that presents the least adverse side effects.
“Concurrent with this opening, the Fresenius Medical Group will bring approximately 30 new high-paying jobs to Beckley,” Duba said. “I am very pleased to have played a part in this project.”
Currently, only 4 acres of the medical park have been developed. In 2013, Woodland Amenities will begin to develop the entire 22 acres into pad-ready sites complete with access roads and utilities. These sites will vary from 1 to 5 acres in size and will be available for lease by new medical businesses.
Woodland Amenities will entertain lease agreements that require the construction of a “build to suit” building for new medical service businesses.
On other property adjacent to the bypass, Beaver Coal is presently seeking new business leasees who are interested in locations for convenience stores, gas stations, fast food businesses, pharmacies, day care centers and any other commercial enterprise that fits the profile of soft economic development.
Beaver Coal also has property on Grey Flats that is geographically and visually separate from the bypass and medical park. This property is available for use in light manufacturing and warehousing.
For more information regarding any of the properties, contact Duba at 115 1/2 S. Kanawha St., Beckley, WV 25801.
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