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This photo of the 23-23 B East Main Street was snapped earlier this week. / Photo by Katie Kuba

All options are still on the table for the now-vacant lot on Main Street that was site of October 2021 fire

BUCKHANNON – The owner of the now-vacant East Main Street lot that was the site of a devastating fire in October 2021 says he hasn’t made a final decision about whether he’ll sell the property, lease it or develop it himself.

Travis Foster, the head of Foster’s Marketing Group, says his main focus has been on cleaning up the debris in the wake of the razing of the building at 23-23 B E. Main Street.

Kevin Lee, the owner of Main Line, completed the demolition work, and Foster is still evaluating all options prior to his next move.

“Everything’s on the table,” Foster recently told My Buckhannon. “I’m entertaining some large corporations that are interested, and I’m entertaining ideas of developing the land with a structure on it.”

One thing is for sure: Construction isn’t imminent given the costs of building materials currently.

“I’m not going to spend $10 million on a building at a time when you really wouldn’t want to build your own back porch because material costs are up so much right now,” Foster said. “I’m working with a couple of different engineers and architects right now on ideas if I decide to build on it myself. I’m also entertaining ideas to sell [the property] to a couple of large corporations. We have to follow a specific process, though, to get a return on the investment whether I end up selling it or developing it myself.”

Foster is hoping to have the surface grated down enough to allow overflow vendors with the West Virginia Strawberry Festival to set up shop in the lot if needed.

“Ultimately, I want to make it something for the community,” he said. “I’m not sure which way I’m going to go with that, but my main focus now is to work with the Strawberry Festival to situate some of their overflow vendors. The goal is to get the concrete out and get it grated down, get it safe and then allow them to use it for the festival.”

Meanwhile, Foster is also in the midst of hashing out a blueprint for the future of the building he owns across from the post office adjacent to Jawbone Park, where Boost Mobile, The Inter-Mountain, a pawn shop and Fox’s Pizza were previously located. Foster wanted to dispel rumors that he is going to construct a nightclub there.

“We’re not building a nightclub, even though I’ve heard some people say that,” he said.

What is Foster’s Marketing Group dreaming up? Foster is keeping that information close to the vest for now, but he envisions a multi-vendor food and entertainment market with a variety of recreation/entertainment and dining options – ones that aren’t in north-central West Virginia.

“It’s going to bring some excitement to town and create that spark,” he said. “It will really add something unique to the town. We’re working on the design right now, we’re working on how we’re going to structure the whole building, and we’ve got a lot of good things that are about to happen with this building next year.”

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