Huntington officials confident moving forward after Pullman Square deal

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. – Officials from the City of Huntington and the Huntington Municipal Development Authority are moving forward with confidence following a recent agreement where the authority will become the majority owner of the Pullman Square shopping center.

The Huntington Municipal Development Authority (HMDA) voted June 30 on a deal that saw the body acquire 72.5% of the space. At the meeting, a subsidiary called Downtown Investments, LLC was formed and will soon own this retail space along 3rd Avenue.

The leaders have agreed to use $7 million in coronavirus relief funds for the project, where $4 million will be used to reduce debt and $3 million to pay off the partnership.

Cathy Burns, executive director of HMDA, spoke to MetroNews about Pullman Square, which opened in 2004.

Cathy Burns

“What this transaction does is allow us to renegotiate the debt on the property, allowed us to reduce the debt and in doing so helped us to save and invest in the capital reserve account,” Burns said.

Burns said in recent meetings with the current owners, they discussed how the COVID-19 pandemic has had economic and business consequences.

The Tri-State Transit Authority and Metropolitan Huntington currently own the property, with all five Metropolitan Huntington owners living out of state. At those meetings, Burns said three of those owners expressed interest in selling.

“We looked at this carefully and said we would really like to control fate and want to see Pullman Square continue to grow and prosper,” she said.

Burns noted that customers and vendors won’t see any visible changes in Pullman Square. Existing lease agreements with commercial tenants will not change.

Prior to Pullman Square, 3rd Avenue in Huntington was a vacant four-lane roadway and existing buildings were vacant. Burns said that has changed and HMDA wants it to continue.

“When you have a thriving community, where people like to gather, have events, they like to bring families, it’s a generator of attraction and economic development,” Burns said.

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