TownePlace Suites open in downtown Parkersburg

Extended-stay hotel promoting other businesses

Photo by Evan Bevins Christopher Morrow, lead analyst with the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, takes advantage of the Internet access at the TownePlace Suites by Marriott on Seventh Street in Parkersburg Wednesday. Morrow is lodging at the recently opened extended-stay facility while in town for business at the Bureau of the Fiscal Service.

PARKERSBURG — Since the UpTowner Inn on Seventh Street closed in 1987, there has been plenty of wondering, waiting and watching to see if and when it would be occupied again.

A new chapter for the five-story downtown facility began May 30 when it officially opened its doors as a TownePlace Suites by Marriott, a little less than three years after plans to renovate and revive the building were announced.

A grand opening is being planned for July, said Steve Keiser, vice president of Marietta-based Christy and Associates, a partner on the project. He said the “soft opening” was intended to make sure everything was going smoothly and working properly.

“I think the response has been good,” Keiser said. “We had been making sales calls for the last six months to local businesses.”

Highmark West Virginia, Camden Clark Medical Center and the federal Bureau of the Fiscal Service were among the entities seen as likely to have people coming into town for business and needing a place to stay for a while.

Photo by Evan Bevins Rooms at the TownePlace Suites by Marriott in downtown Parkersburg include a cooktop, dishwasher, microwave, utensils and plates to accommodate guests who expect to spend more than a night or two.

Although the TownePlace brand and the hotel are geared toward guests staying for extended periods of time, the initial guests were primarily lodging overnight, Keiser said.

“This week, I think we’ve started to see a trend toward more three-, four- and five-day stays,” Keiser said.

Each of the hotel’s 84 rooms has a cooktop, microwave, dishwasher, silverware, plates and pots and pans.

“We have had people cooking already, which is a good thing,” Keiser said.

But the guests aren’t just wanting to go back and forth between the rooms and the places where they’re doing business.

Photo by Evan Bevins A sign from the former UpTowner Inn hanging on the first floor provides a link to the past of the new TownePlace Suites by Marriott.

“People that have checked in here are asking us, ‘Can we walk to things in downtown Parkersburg?'” Keiser said. “And of course the answer is yes.

“We’re actively promoting every other thing in downtown Parkersburg,” he said.

That’s music to the ears of Wendy Shriver, executive director of Downtown PKB, the organization that works to promote and enhance the city’s central business district.

“It’s another big anchor, having a hotel in the downtown,” she said.

The hotel rooms bring more people downtown, which puts more potential customers in the area for restaurants and businesses, Shriver said.

Going forward, Downtown PKB would like to coordinate with the hotel and other businesses and events. One example would be offering packages that include tickets to events like the annual Taste of Parkersburg with the booking of a room, Shriver said.

“There’s an opportunity there,” she said.