Uptowner agreement passes finance committee

PARKERSBURG – Renovation plans for the Uptowner Inn passed a crucial hurdle Tuesday.

The Parkersburg City Council Finance Committee approved a cooperative agreement between the city and Uptown Lodging, which plans to renovate the Uptowner Inn as an extended-stay hotel.

The 5-0 vote came after a largely positive discussion of the renovation project.

“This is a great project,” said council President Jim Reed. “Our investment is very minimal compared to what we are going to get in return.”

Officials last month announced plans to renovate and reopen the Uptowner Inn, which has sat vacant for nearly 25 years. The building at Seventh and Green streets formerly boasted about 100 rooms, but the new structure will house about 70 slightly larger rooms with kitchenettes for extended stays.

Owner Larry Morehead and Frank Christy of Christy & Associates have been working with the city for several months on the project. Officials estimate at least $4 million will be spent on renovations.

The agreement between the city and Uptown Lodging would offer $200,000 in development money for the project, grant a B&O Tax exemption on construction and for five years after the new business opened. It also would transfer ownership of a nearby city parcel of land to the Uptowner for $1 to be used for development of additional parking.

Uptown Lodging purchased property on the opposite corner from the Uptowner Inn to create additional parking. The plot of land in the cooperative agreement is adjacent to the purchased property.

Those agreements would be contingent upon the creation of at least 15 full-time equivalent jobs, which would have to exist for at least five years.

Mayor Bob Newell said the $200,000 would be used to purchase furnishings for the building.

Ann Conageski, development director for the city, estimated the value of the 20-by-30-foot parcel of city property at less than $1,000 due to its size and location.