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The Charleston Urban Renewal Authority was created in 1952 by the City of Charleston, West Virginia as provided under West Virginia Code, Chapter 16. These Code Sections provide for public health and slum clearance and give the agency the power and direction to develop community renewal plans to focus on the elimination of slum and blight.

Charleston's Urban Renewal Program began in earnest in 1958 with the Planning and Execution of the Summers Street/Boulevard Project. This project consisted of 2 3/4 blocks bounded Kanawha Boulevard, Capitol, Virginia and Court Streets. New developments included Charleston National Bank (now Chase), Charleston House Holiday Inn (currently the Ramada Hotel) and Shanklin Parking Lot.

With this success behind it, the CURA embarked on two additional projects called Government Square and Triangle. Planning began in 1965 and 1966 respectively and required 3 years to complete the planning and financing.

The Government Square project consisted of a 10-block area from Clendenin Street to Laidley Street and from the Kanawha Boulevard to mid-block toward Lee Street, East. The Triangle project was bounded by the Government Square project, the Elk River, Interstate 77, Laidley Street to Washington Street and Summers Street to Interstate 77. These two projects had an estimated cost of approximately $30,000,000.

Government Square and Triangle Project Developments

  • Two Drive-In Bank Facilities

  • Judicial Annex Building with Parking Facility

  • United Bank Center with Parking Facility

  • Spilman Thomas & Battle Law Office Facility

  • Downtown Mall Development with Four Anchor Stores and 120 Speciality Shops (Charleston Town Center)

  • Two Hotels - Marriott and Embassy Suites

  • Municipal Parking Building with Cinema Theaters & Commercial Area

  • Civic Center Expansion Facility Seating 12,500 with 2,500-car Parking Building

  • City/County Health Facility

  • 205 Units of Section 8 Elderly Housing (Charleston Arbors)

  • Single-Family Subdivision Consisting of 11 New Homes

  • St. Francis Hospital Facility Including Two Medical Buildings & Parking Building

  • Restaurant and Office Building (Now Soley Office Building)

  • Laidley Tower Office

  • Commercial Development & Pedestrian Mall

  • St. George's Church Annex

  • YMCA Daycare Center

  • Martin Luther King Recreation Center

  • Postal Facility

  • Former Water Company Office Building

  • 22 Units of Town Houses (Clendenin Square)

  • 52 Units of Apartments (Charleston Village Apartments)

  • Metropolitan Church

  • Arnett & Foster Office Building

  • Storm Sewers and widened Streets with New Lighting Systems (Clendenin, Lee, Court and Summers Street)

  • Lee Street Rebuilding by the State of West Virginia

  • 120-bed Nursing Home Facility

  • 103 Units of Section 8 Elderly Housing – Jacob Arbors

  • 22 Town House Units

  • Limited amount of rehabilitation

  • CURA was also involved in a small neighborhood revitalization program in the Shelton-Sentz area. Redevelopment included:

  • 120-bed Nursing Home Facility

  • 103 Units of Section 8 Elderly Housing – Jacob Arbors

  • 22 Town House Units

  • Limited amount of rehabilitation

CURA led the development of the historic downtown core through the implementation of the Downtown/Old Charleston Urban Renewal Project prepared by the Charleston Renaissance Corporation.


By the 1990's and early 2000's with major projects behind it, CURA shifted its focus to bringing beautification, art, and parks to the city. The authority worked to improve sidewalks, streets, buildings and assist business owners. CURA was a key leader collaborating with other agencies including the City of Charleston, Charleston Renaissance, Imagine Charleston, Greater Kanawha Valley Foundation, Charleston Area Alliance and East End/West Side Main Streets to secure grants, provide funds and encourage redevelopment within the city accomplishing projects including: 

  • East End Bazaar

  • East End Playground

  • East End Community Garden

  • East End Park

  • Capitol Market

  • Magic Island

  • West Side and East End Main Street facade grants

  • Facade grants to multiple Downtown areas including Parkview Lofts and the Block Restaurant

  • Recovery Point-Stockton Street

  • Mountain Mission Soup Kitchen

  • East End Monument

  • 2nd Avenue Community Center-funded roof, windows, HVAC and nominate the property to the National Register

  • Rebecca Street Community Garden

  • Haddad River Front Park

  • Mary Ratrie Park/Clay Center

  • National Endowment for the Arts Grant

  • Mary C. Snow Health Clinic

  • Negotiated lease to bring Charleston's first Brew Pub (Charleston Brewing Company) downtown

  • $600,000 to the City for Brawley walkway improvement

  • East End, West Side and Smith Street Streetscapes

  • Sidewalk cafes: CURA played a huge role in getting a local bill drafted and passed to allow sidewalk dining in Charleston

  • Funded survey and nomination to create additional historic area on the East End making tax credits available for redevelopment

  • Negotiated a package of incentives to make possible the restoration and reuse of the blighted Staats building

  • Jumpstarted growth to the Elk City area by supplying low-interest secured loans resulting in the development of businesses in the area such as Kinship Goods, Base Camp Printing, Bully Trap and Books and Brews

  • Joined CAA to fund Walkability/Gateway study of Charleston

  • Negotiated sales of properties previously purchased or donated to CURA to private developers, for use as parks, community gardens and public programs


CURA activities and programs:

Project West Invest {PWI) -Funding from the Greater Kanawha Valley Foundation (GKVF) and CURA, and administered through MOECD to encourage four police officers to purchase and rehabilitate homes within the WSCRP. In addition, PWI, with assistance from the Charleston Area Alliance, has raised additional funds in excess of $100,000 administered by CURA that were utilized for rehabilitation work on houses in the vicinity of the officers

  • Project West Invest & WV – Reentry -alongside Kanawha Valley Council on Philanthropy, CURA has assisted these groups in their efforts to provide security cameras in West Side neighborhoods. Over 40 systems have been installed

  • West Side Neighborhood Living – CURA funded program to expand on the concept piloted in PWI to include teachers to purchase homes within the WSCRP

  • West Side Neighborhood Renewal – Plan update & amendment is currently underway

  • West Side Home Ownership program – CURA committed $250,000 to stimulate homeownership within the Home Ownership Zone on the West Side

  • WV-Reentry – CURA provided funding for the acquisition of 10 lots in the 1400 block of 11 avenue to remove the dilapidated homes and provide an opportunity to build new homes within a one-block area of Mary C. Snow and to demonstrate focused high impact within one block

  • Mi Cocina De Amor – CURA expanded the area leased to Mi Cocina to create a "Margarita Garden" for additional outdoor eating and entertainment space

  • KISRA warehouse garden – CURA assisted in the purchase of grow lighting for a greenhouse on the West Side

  • Facade Grants – CURA provided a program offering 50/50 match dollars up to $20,000 for commercial properties to renovate their exterior facade

  • West Side Basketball Park – collaborated with the City to construct a basketball park on CURA property at the 1200 Block of Washington Street West

  • Urban Garden training – collaborating with West Virginia State University and a local group to utilize CURA's property at 6th & Rebecca as an urban garden & training center

  • BridgeValley facilitation – CURA committed a short-term loan to BridgeValley in an effort to help facilitate their relocation to Downtown Charleston

  • Christo Building – renovation of a historic property and a commercial opportunity

  • Residential Rehabilitation - Donated properties. CURA was donated nine West Side properties in December of 2017. All of the properties except two vacant lots were sold to developers to rehabilitate for housing

  • 170 Summers Street – B&B Loan/Dupont Hotel – This property was originally purchased by CURA to save the historic building and was sold to a developer in 2019. It has now been renovated and houses GKVF and Payne Gallatin Company

  • CTC Mall Study – funded a study by University of Tennessee architect students for plans and ideas for the future of the mall

  • Demolition of blighted buildings – CURA provided contributions totaling 500,000 to the City towards demolition

  • Downtown Dog Park – CURA collaborated with the City to create a dog park on the Ott Property

  • Improved Parking – Resurfaced, installed parking stations and contracted a management company to oversee all CURA parking lots to increase revenue and provide better parking options throughout the city

  • Small Business Grants – grant program to assist small businesses struggling to improve and reopen after a year of lost revenue due to COVID

  • Art /Murals – provided funding and obtained artists to place murals on East End and West Side buildings

  • Charleston Town Center Mall & Garages- In late 2019 the Town Center Mall defaulted on its real estate loan and ultimately lost ownership through foreclosure. At that time, the Mall also ceased making payments on the CURA ground lease under three parking garages. The City joined CURA in working together to streamline the overall project and help make the Mall marketable. In the process, CURA has taken ownership of the former Macy's department store building and is holding it for redevelopment. The Mall has since sold to a Georgia real estate company and negotiations are ongoing as to the use and payment structure for the garages.

  • Facade Grant Program – collaborating with Charleston Main Streets to bring back facade grant program

  • Other CURA Involvement: Assisting the Atlas Lofts with parking

    • Opportunity Zone investment options

    • Business Improvement Districts

    • Charleston Main Streets

    • Opportunities to secure other funding/grants etc. 

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