MARTINSBURG, W.Va.--As part of developing the Downtown Martinsburg area, a non-profit organization is taking on a project to bring economic growth, while maintaining a historical building in the city.
It was once the longest running building in the city of Martinsburg until the early 1980's, the Matthews foundry was a place that manufactured ironworks. Now 30 plus years later, officials are hoping this will be a spot for a thriving microbrewery and restaurant business in the downtown area.
"There is Tuscarora Creek that runs beside of it," says Randy Lewis of Main Street Martinsburg. "It would be great to have patio seating for a restaurant. The upstairs second level has a great floor plan, that could make it into a reception area. There is also some parking there."
Main Street Martinsburg, is the organization behind the plan and the group says they're working with the West Virginia Redevelopment Collaborative, which provided a grant.
"It's an exciting project, It's the beginning steps but it's starting to really grow," says Lewis. "It's going to be a good development for Main Street Martinsburg and the City of Martinsburg."
"They got some really great team members, both from the local prospective with Main Street Martinsburg, as well as the experts we were able to match with them," "They got a lot of momentum and we are really excited this project is moving forward." says Carrie Staton, the West Virginia Redevelopment Collaborative Coordinator.
Officials say they are also working with students from the West Virginia University Landscape and Architecture program who will design the building layout and the Carey Business School at Johns Hopkins University, who will work the business end of the potential restaurant venue.
"We are a volunteer driven organization, but we need younger volunteers, young blood, so to maintain this organization, to keep it credible and stable, we are liking to have young people involved, so it's encouraging," says Lewis
Lewis hopes the project will be completed within 5 years
The students from West Virginia University will unveil their designs on December 10th at the Arts Center in Martinsburg.