Waterfront Place Hotel Celebrates 10 Years
Morgantown Dominion Post
30 October 2013
By Alex Lang
One of the initial waterfront projects was completed pretty close
to original plans and now the Waterfront Place Hotel celebrates 10
years in the Wharf District.
The hotel opened in August 2003, with a soft opening and only
hotel rooms available.
Director of Catering and Conference Services Deborah Matthews and
Director of Sales and Marketing Jennifer Millstone have been with
the hotel since it opened.
They recalled the first large group to host an event was the
Mountaineer Athletic Club.
The hotel’s conference areas were in the final phases of
construction, but the club was insistent about using the site.
Hotel staff had to put up drapes to keep the construction areas
separate from the meeting space.
The staff helped move everything into the hotel.
Millstone said the staff even moved the furniture into the guest
“We all pitched in,” she said.
The first group to have an official conference at the hotel was
the National Association of College and University Food Services,
in October 2003.
“It went off without a hitch,” Matthews said.
The idea of the waterfront complex was first announced in November
1998. WVU and a group of investors committed $55 million to build
a hotel and conference center complex along the Monongahela River.
The 7.5-acre spot was to be home a hotel, conference center,
office space and parking garage. WVU was interested in the
project, at $18 million for its share, to end leases it had for
various operations throughout town.
Along with WVU, a group of businessmen — the late Milan “Mike”
Puskar, Steve Lorenze and Parry Pertroplus, co-owners of Platinum
Properties — helped develop the area.
WVU views One Waterfront Place as a “wonderful arrangement,”
university spokeswoman Becky Lofstead said. By not having to pay
rent at various locations around town, it has saved WVU money.
One Waterfront Place is the building next to the hotel and houses
WVU departments including Human Resources, the Mountaineers
Parents Club and University Relations, Lofstead said. It has also
provided additional space for units that used to be in cramped
areas, such as the Visitor’s Resource Center, which was housed in
the Communication Building on the Evansdale Campus.
Now-retired City Manager Dan Boroff said people forget how dismal
the site was before the project. There was an abandon railroad
line, a chain link fence and other eyesores at the site.
“It’s a striking contrast,” he said.
Boroff said one of the most important aspects of the project was
the collaboration among different groups — WVU, private investors,
the city and others — led to other projects throughout town, he
In the 10 years since it was built, the Waterfront has helped
change the riverfront’s look and helped pad the city’s coffers.
“We bring in a lot of business,” said Kyle Johnson, hotel general
Hotel and city officials said taxes paid by the hotel to
municipalities is not public record.
Millstone said they bring a lot of money to the city through an
Not only is Waterfront Place Hotel the area’s largest hotel and
conference center, it also partners with tourism groups when there
are larger and extended conferences in town.
“We bring groups in that normally wouldn’t be here,” she said.
Industry changes — especially those caused by recent economic
shifts — have led to changes in conferences.
Matthews said conferences are no longer wanting the “fluff stuff,”
they want to be in-and-out with their meetings.
The hotel has changed management companies a few times in 10
years. The hotel initially started off under the Radisson
umbrella. Real Hospitality Group now manages the complex. The
Waterfront Place Hotel was the organization’s first hotel.
No matter the changes during the past 10 years, the staff still
holds true to that idea from a decade ago. Millstone said that if
something needs to be done, everybody pitches in and there are no
“It’s not my job” comments.
“It’s like a family,” Millstone said. “A lot of the staff are very
BY THE NUMBERS
205: Number of Waterfront Place Hotel rooms
1,000: Number of people who can be hosted in a reception in the
9,438: Number of square feet of meeting and event space
10: Years in existence