The Golden Rule building in downtown Belington, WV

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Fahe’s Community Lending Services works alongside local leaders to build stronger communities. We provide loans that support community development projects, ranging from healthcare centers and homeless shelters to the restoration of community landmarks. Our work generates renewed pride in the community, creates jobs, and supports the local economy. 

Fahe Community Lending recently partnered with Fahe Member Woodlands Development Group to provide funding for the renovation of the Golden Rule building in downtown Belington, WV. Built in 1902 by the Shinn family, the Golden Rule holds a special place in the hearts of community members, having served as a community grocery, hardware store, and department store.  During its height, the motto of the Golden Rule was “Everything for Everyone.”

However, 70 years after its construction, as coal jobs declined in the area, so did business for the Golden Rule. Soon, the building fell into disuse and became nothing more than a storage building.

In the last few years, the Golden Rule building has come back into the public eye. Identified as an endangered property by the Preservation Alliance of West Virginia, it has a unique architectural style and boasts one of the few remaining operational water-powered elevators in the United States.  The community’s need for quality rental housing and retail space is further boosting the building’s renewed popularity.  Despite the years it has set fallow, the Golden Rule has great potential. Many well-built older structures, such as school buildings, have found life once again as apartments and community centers. Their adaptive rehabilitation allows for preservation and reuse, many times at a cost lower than new construction.  Instead of sitting unused and crumbling, these buildings serve their communities once again, but in a new capacity. 

Fahe Member Woodlands Development Group purchased the Golden Rule building and thanks in part to a line of credit through Fahe’s Community Lending they are breathing life back into the historical structure. The top two floors will be turned into ten apartments.  The first floor and basement will be leased to the Belington Revitalization Committee (BRC) with plans to open a ticketing office for the Durbin & Greenbrier Valley Railroad, a small museum, and an artist market.  A former grist mill on the property will become the site of a community space with outdoor seating.  

Like all Fahe Members, Woodlands has deep ties to the communities they serve. Woodlands has been working for nearly 20 years to provide families with quality rental housing and to boost the economy through the development and reuse of commercial buildings. They combine their place-based knowledge with financial expertise. In addition to the line of credit through Fahe, Woodlands will use a mix of grants, historic tax credits, and Low Income Housing Tax Credits for the funding.  Projects like the Golden Rule require knowledge and expertise in accessing and blending different funding sources to make them a success. 

The new Golden Rule will add value to the community through needed housing, job creation, and economic stimulus. Thanks to Woodlands Development Group, it can once again live up to its motto and be “Everything for Everyone.”

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