A long-abandoned property in downtown Welch has been purchased for the construction of apartment-style housing for teachers and other professionals.
Reconnecting McDowell, the public-private partnership focused on improving McDowell County's education system and economy, has purchased the former Best Furniture and Katzen buildings and the attached parking lots for $92,000.
The group intends to build a Teachers Village - which will include about 30 housing units, areas for residents to collaborate and relax, and community amenities such as a street-level coffee shop.
The American Federation of Teachers is the lead partner in the Reconnecting McDowell effort and says McDowell public schools have struggled for years with teacher vacancies, due in large part to a lack of available housing in the county.
Community Housing Partners Design Studio of Christiansburg, VA., will design and construct the project. The firms says it specializes in green and sustainable housing.