Charleston Wins the Lottery

June 1, 2010
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It’s a sign of the times that in Charleston, West Virginia, business is booming—for the lottery. Having outgrown a converted warehouse on the outskirts of the city, the West Virginia Lottery recently bought the 13-story City Center West for $21.5 million. The seller, Ed Maier, told the local paper that he sold the building to the state in part because he didn't think he could fill it with commercial tenants. Maier’s City Center East, in Kanawha City, is currently only 40 percent occupied.

Despite the lottery’s commitment to a Charleston location, city officials don’t feel like winners. They have been losing commercial—read tax-generating—properties to government, nonprofit, and other nonrevenue-generating ownership for years.