HUNTINGTON - Several companies have expressed interest in redeveloping the former ACF Industries complex along 3rd Avenue, Huntington Municipal Development Authority Executive Director Cathy Burns said Monday.

In the meantime, an architectural firm is drafting a master plan of the property's potential uses. An environmental consulting firm is also analyzing what it will take to clean up the property after its use as an industrial site for decades.

Members of the Huntington Municipal Development Authority, or HMDA, agreed to purchase the 42-acre ACF property for $3.12 million in June.

The property, located along the north and south sides of 3rd Avenue near 24th Street, is central to a plan to remake that area and surrounding properties into the Huntington Brownfields Innovation Zone, or H-BIZ. This was a key component of a plan Huntington leaders submitted to the America's Best Communities competition, winning a $3 million grand prize in April 2017 to help make it a reality.

During a HMDA meeting Monday, Burns said Elkview-based Environmental Resources & Consulting is currently developing a "road map" for assessment and cleanup of the former industrial complex.

The consultants have divided the property into five sections. They had originally intended to assess each section and release reports in stages. Burns said she requested the consultants assess the entire property before releasing one final report, which will save money. The consultants will perform soil testing and testing for asbestos.

"When they finish their work, we will have a complete report on the entire 42 acres, both below ground and above ground," she said.

The cost of the assessment will be approximately $203,000. Any remediation of the property will come after the assessment.

Burns said several companies have expressed interest in the property.

"I've met with a couple of potential companies and there is some interest from those who buy old manufacturing sites and redevelop them," she said.

HMDA will pursue selling the entire property to one buyer, but Burns said it could also sell the property in pieces if necessary.

Stromberg/Garrigan & Associates Inc, of Somerset, Pennsylvania, is currently making a master plan of the property's potential uses.

"Stromberg will take the survey work that's been completed, as well as the testing results, and take that to give us a master plan of what potentially could be located on the site based on the size, easements and anything you have to work around," Burns said.

The property was once used as a railroad car manufacturing plant before it was mostly idled more than 20 years ago.

Along with the ACF property, the board also purchased and resold 8 acres of the nearby Flint Group Pigments property, located along the north side of 5th Avenue at 24th Street. HMDA members bought the property for $750,000 and resold it to Marshall University for $468,000, which includes costs for environmental consultants. The property is planned as the future site of Marshall University's 3,500-seat ballpark, which has a March 2021 completion date.

Burns said she notified Marshall that the city will no longer pay utilities on the property by the end of September. Marshall plans to hold a groundbreaking the week of Oct. 21, which is homecoming week.

Travis Crum is a reporter for The Herald-Dispatch. He may be reached by phone at 304-526-2801.

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