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A sizable senior housing building set to be constructed on Charleston’s West Side cleared two initial hurdles Wednesday.

Charleston’s Municipal Planning Commission approved two items on Wednesday’s agenda related to the housing unit — a rezoning classification so the property can be built and approval of the unit itself.

The 43-unit building will be four stories tall and will stand between 6th Avenue and 7th Avenue on the West Side, one block from Patrick Street. The site’s official address is 1625 7th Ave.

The building’s entrance will face 7th Avenue and sit across from Mountain Mission, a nonprofit charitable organization that helps support families in need. A 44-space parking lot will be behind the structure, on 6th Avenue.

The unit will be used for independent senior living, according to Woda Cooper Companies, the Columbus, Ohio-based housing firm developing the project.

John Butterworth, a planner for the city, said Wednesday that Mountain Mission has worked for decades to bring a project of this magnitude to the West Side.

“For history here, Mountain Mission has, over the course of perhaps the last 20 years, been strategically acquiring and demolishing very run down housing in the area ... they have been trying to assemble property in this block with interest of redevelopment,” Butterworth said.

Mountain Mission executive director John Roberts said the nonprofit has worked diligently to make sure the footprint it leaves in the community is “as positive as it can be.” Houses on the block became old and dilapidated, becoming hot spots for crime, which led to Mountain Mission’s quest to clean up the neighborhood. Roberts said Mountain Mission bought the properties and, with help from the city, began demolishing them.

Barry Accountius, vice president at Woda Cooper, said financing for the property has already been committed, and the group’s design team is working on the project plans. Woda Cooper has nearly 300 properties in 15 states, including West Virginia, but this is its first venture into Kanawha County.

“This will be our first development inside Kanawha County, let alone the city of Charleston and we’re extremely excited about that,” he said.

No other details about the project — bedrooms in units, baths, floor plans, etc. — were given Wednesday. They will become available as the project progresses.

Roberts said Mountain Mission found a great development partner in Woda Cooper.

“If I didn’t believe in Woda Cooper, I wouldn’t work with them on the property right across the street from my office that I have to walk into every day,” Roberts said.

Reach Joe Severino at, 304-348-4814 or follow @jj_severino on Twitter.