March 5, 2013
Energy company to build offices in Northgate
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CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Energy Corporation of America will announce details Wednesday of its plan to build a three-story office building -- presumably its new eastern headquarters -- at Northgate Business Park.

The 60,000-square-foot building would be located on a leveled 9.65-acre site near the Ticketmaster offices, according to ECA's application to the Municipal Planning Commission.

Planning Commission members will review the plans at their 3 p.m. meeting in the City Services Center, 915 Quarrier St., as required under city zoning rules as a Development of Significant Impact because the office building has more than 25,000 square feet of floor space.

According to city Planning Director Dan Vriendt, who met with ECA representatives, the building will replace the company's current eastern regional headquarters on 56th Street in Kanawha City, behind the state Department of Environmental Protection offices.

It will initially house about 100 employees but will have space for gradual expansion to 200 employees, Vriendt said.

ECA spokeswoman Jennifer Vieweg would not discuss the Northgate plans Tuesday but said details will be released Wednesday at the Planning Commission.

Denver-based ECA is a privately held energy company founded about 20 years ago by John Mork, the president and CEO. He previously founded Eastern American Energy Corp., an oil and natural gas exploration and production company that had headquarters in Kanawha City.

Though it has operations worldwide, ECA is a leading producer in the Appalachian Basin and was a pioneer in developing the Marcellus Shale formation as early as the late 1970s. Mork and ECA bought Mountaineer Gas, the former gas utility business of Columbia Gas, in 1995 and sold it to Allegheny Energy five years later.

According to its website, the company owns more than a million acres from New York to Tennessee and operates more than 4,600 wells. It has drilled up to 100 wells a year for the last five years.

ECA's eastern office and its predecessor, Eastern America Energy, have been in their current location in Kanawha City since about 1987, Vieweg said. About 100 people work there now, she said.

Mork, his family and his company maintain strong ties with West Virginia. Former Gov. Gaston Caperton is a longtime board member, and lawyer Thomas R. Goodwin, a former state tax commissioner, has served as chairman since 2007. The Morks were major donors to the Clay Center and John Mork's son, Kyle, works in Charleston as chief operating officer and board member.

Reach Jim Balow at ba...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-5102.

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