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Open house showcases re-development of St. Joseph Landing

Danielle Allphin with Peoples Bank, from left, Jon Defibaugh, St. Joseph Landing building manager, Amanda Stevens from Downtown PKB and Mike Browning participated in a ribbon cutting ceremony Thursday morning for the open house at St. Joseph Landing. (Photo by Candice Black)

PARKERSBURG — An open house was held at St. Joseph Landing on Thursday morning to show off the renovated facility and talk about the future of the building.

Many Parkersburg residents have special connections with the former St. Joseph’s Hospital and building manager Jon Defibaugh has a vision of keeping community members in mind when coming up with plans for the space.

“We have been working on rebuilding and refilling up this entire campus to make it a community resource. It’s been in the community for 90 years, everyone that you meet has a story about this building in some way,” Defibaugh said. “We want to make sure that we bring it back and make it useful for everyone.”

A representative from the office of Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., attended the open house and since Manchin wasn’t able to attend, he showed a personalized video from the senator.

“This re-development of St. Joseph Landing, which was constructed in 1931, will provide endless opportunities for economic support in Parkersburg. I sincerely appreciate all who played a role in making this project a reality,” Manchin said. “Over the last five years, we’ve seen an outstanding transformation in this community staple as well as the jobs and opportunities that have come from it. I look forward to seeing the continued expansion of this space as it serves as a one-stop-shop for social services.”

Amber Caldwell takes an order at Cafe Joseph inside St. Joseph Landing, the former St. Joseph’s Hospital. An open house for the facility took place Thursday morning. (Photo by Candice Black)

The idea is to create a one-stop-shop for social and Veterans Affairs services along with community events. Presently, the facility is home to a coffee shop, cafe with plans for a boutique and gym. People in the recovery and veteran communities will also have services available to them at St. Joseph’s Recovery and the newly renovated floor for veterans.

“We hope to see the community kind of step into it and utilize it and make it work. I think a lot of people care about what happens with this building. We, in no way, want to do this alone and we don’t want to take it from anyone,” Defibaugh said.

To further grow the one-stop-shop mentality, Defibaugh has plans to bring in a Workforce WV office along with health department representatives. Eldercare facilities, long-term care units, historic apartments and transitional housing are some of the ideas moving forward.

Because the building is so large, Defibaugh said he and the building owners are always looking for investors to partner with them.

“There’s six different buildings, 30 floors, about 850,000 square feet, all of it in weird spaces. From a development size, there was a pretty narrow focus,” he said. “We wanted a partner. If a development group wants to come in and they need a space to build an apartment complex or a hotel, we wanted to open that up.”

By opening it up and offering certain sections of it for sale, Defibaugh said they will be able to focus on a few buildings at a time.

“There’s two or three (buildings) that we still need work on and that’s a heavy lift sometimes. We’ll get to it eventually but instead of being 10 years down the road, maybe we can fast track that a little bit by partnering with some other people,” he said.

Candice Black can be reached at cblack@newsandsentinel.com.

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