Facade committee OKs UpTowner project

PARKERSBURG – Although it is being remodeled inside and out to become a TownePlace Suites by Marriott location, the former UpTowner Inn will retain aspects of its distinctive look.

“One of the elements that was always interesting to us about the UpTowner was the arches,” said Steve Keiser, vice president and chief operating officer of Christy and Associates, one of the partners in the UpTowner Lodging LLC venture to convert the hotel into an extended stay facility.

Keiser appeared before the Parkersburg Downtown Facade Committee seeking approval of the exterior designs for the hotel.

The arches would be painted a shade of red associated with the Marriott brand, and the first floor walls, which are now brick, would be covered with a stone veneer. The exterior walls on the upper floors will be covered with efis, a textured, synthetic stucco-like surface. The colors will be dorset gold over the arches and on the north and south ends, with weston flax in the middle portion.

New elevator shafts will be constructed at the back of the hotel, along with a new building for an indoor pool. Keiser said the existing elevator shaft will be converted to storage rooms.

The committee’s approval is required to ensure the designs meet the standards of the downtown facade district. Members raised no issues about the proposal and approved the plans 3-0, with two members absent.

“We’re glad you’re doing it,” said Sean Andrews, committee chairman. “This’ll be a huge improvement for downtown.”

Keiser said the company is awaiting approval of its building plans, but some work is already under way.

“We need to have Marriott approval and then we need to have city approval before we can start adding anything to the site,” he said.

The windows have been removed from the building because some had broken and there was concern others could fall, Keiser said. Empire Builders is expected to start removing blue panels – which contain a small amount of asbestos – from the exterior on Friday.

Keiser said preparations are being made so that once the plans are approved, work can begin immediately. The goal is still to have the hotel open by March 31.

“Our worst-case date is June 30,” Keiser said.

The $7.5 million project will transform the UpTowner, which closed in 1987, into an extended-stay hotel with 84 rooms.