HMDA Completes Acquisition of ACF Industries Plant

ACF Industries
ACF Industries

Huntington - An idle downtown industrial property now belongs to the city of Huntington, and awaits redevelopment.

Mayor Steve Williams announced Friday purchase of former ACF Industries property by the Huntington Municipal Development Authority.  The acquisition of the former rail car manufacturing facility in the city's Highlawn neighborhood is part an on-going revitalization plan.

“Similar to how development of the Superblock into Pullman Square nearly 20 years ago transformed our downtown," Williams said in a press release, "the development of the ACF property and adjoining properties will transform Huntington into the economic gateway of the Appalachian region. This is game-changer for our community.”

HMDA finalized the deal on the 42-acre facility, which includes the property between 3rd Ave. and the Ohio River along 24th Street and also the parking lot on the south side of 3rd Ave., for $3.125 million on Jan. 30. The purchase was aided by a $2.7 million loan from the West Virginia Economic Development Authority.

The ACF property is part of more than 75 acres of former industrial property in Highlawn planned for transformation into mixed-use development space known as the Highlawn Business Innovation Zone. H-BIZ  was a key component of the winning plan city leaders submitted to the America’s Best Communities competition.

Huntington was named the winner of the nationwide competition and the recipient of a $3 million grand prize in April 2017.

Development of the Highlawn Business Innovation Zone began in February 2019 when HMDA purchased approximately 8 acres of the former Flint Group Pigments property, located on the north side of 5th Avenue at 24th Street. Most of the funding for the purchase came from America’s Best Communities winnings.

HMDA then sold the property to Marshall University to build a baseball stadium.

Potential redevelopment plans for the ACF property include 1 million square feet of mixed-use commercial, retail, housing, advanced manufacturing, office space and medical expansion and/or research facilities.

“With HMDA’s acquisition of the ACF property, along with Marshall University’s $22 million investment in the former Flint Group Pigments property for a baseball stadium that is now under construction, these abandoned sites are being reclaimed for new development potential,” HMDA Executive Director Cathy Burns said.

“The ACF property is a beautiful piece of flat land, situated in the heart of the eastern portion of Huntington, and is one of the largest developable tracts of land in West Virginia within a municipality," she added. "The site has great visibility, convenient access and is located in a prime area near the Ohio River, Marshall University, medical facilities and the downtown.”

 

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