MCT REGIONAL NEWS/BUSINESS
By George Hohmann
Charleston Daily Mail, W.Va.
McClatchy-Tribune Information Services
Aug. 23--CHARLESTON, W.Va.--Most of WOWK-TV's Huntington staff and all of its Charleston staff will move early next year into offices on Quarrier Street, said Bray Cary, president and chief executive officer of the station's owner, West Virginia Media Holdings.
"We are going to get all of our operating personnel for Channel 13 into one facility," Cary said on Monday.
About 45 station personnel currently work in a Huntington building the company owns. An equal number work out of leased space at 13 Kanawha Blvd. W. in Charleston.
The new office will be next to BrickStreet Mutual Insurance Co.'s headquarters at 400 Quarrier St., in just under 15,000 square feet of space BrickStreet did not build out when it refurbished the former Montgomery Ward department store.
WOWK-TV's new office will be on the ground floor, facing Quarrier Street. The space has its own entrance and its own parking. It is on the west end of the building, adjacent to the Charleston Town Center's Quarrier Street parking garage.
Greg Burton, BrickStreet's president and chief executive officer, said the space has been vacant since BrickStreet moved in. "We always had plans to lease it," he said. "The right opportunity never came up. This option seems to be the one that fits best and we look forward to having them as a tenant."
BrickStreet will build out the space to suit the television station's needs, Burton said.
Asked why his company decided to shift most personnel to Charleston, Cary said, "If you look at where the center of economic activity and the center of news in the area is, it's Charleston. We think we can better service all of those involved by being in the middle of the market.
"We will continue to have a news operation and a sales operation in Huntington." he said.
"We talked to our staff over the course of the last couple of months and asked them, 'What are the barriers to ultimate success?' The vast majority of people said, 'Getting us to one operation will improve our chance of success -- but we hope you pick our city.'