PHILIPSBURG — It’s a building that was last used as a motel in the early 1980s. But in a few weeks, it’ll be a motel once again.
Owner Pat Romano Jr., who is also a Rush Township Supervisor, said he signed a contract to buy the former Mallard Motel in Philipsburg last week after seeing it sit vacant for many years. He will be renaming it the “We Are Inn.”
“I’d drive back and forth to State College all the time and wonder what was going on with (the building),” Romano said.
He said a couple years ago, the property was up for sale but it was “already under contract” once he found out. At a recent event, Romano said he ran into someone who knew he was previously interested in the property, telling him it should be back on the market.
From there, Romano was able to purchase the property with the hopes of renovating the motel and have it used for many years to come.
“My wife and I decided that we’re going to work on this together and it’s a place where our kids could work someday,” Romano said. “So it’s going to be a family business.”
The “We Are Inn” name itself comes from the famous “We Are ... Penn State” chant that sounds through Beaver Stadium at each home game, as Romano is a Penn State alum and is a lifetime Alumni Association member.
“People are always asking, ‘Where’s it going to be?’ and I tell them ‘We are in Philipsburg,’” Romano said. “So the sign will say, ‘We Are Inn Philipsburg, PA.’”
Because of that, Romano said he will be incorporating blue and white into the building and will be painting it gray — a contrast from the orange that was painted on the doors and windows by the previous owner. Penn State memorabilia will then be featured throughout the building.
Romano said the goal is to open up the motel prior to the Rowland Theatre’s red carpet premier of “Shooting Heroin” on Thursday, Oct. 17 — a movie produced by formal local resident Spencer T. Folmar and one in which Romano has also taken part in. They also expect to have people using one of the 18 rooms — which will feature king sized beds — for the Michigan/Penn State football game on Oct. 19 and those attending the Centre Film Festival at the Rowland from Nov. 8-10 will be staying there free of charge.
Also in the works with the motel “sooner rather than later” is a diner that will have sandwiches and other items, with bigger aspirations as time moves on.
“Phase two would involve a full restaurant and bar,” Romano said.
Romano said when a liquor license is acquired, there would also a be a takeout beer and soda section.
“We’re going to keep the place really clean and looking really nice so that it’s not the eyesore that it was and that it’s actually like a ‘welcome’ mat to the area,” Romano said.
Later on, Romano said he’d like to do a lot of different things with the place once everything is up and running, such as events, specials in the restaurant, etc.
With the opening of We Are Inn and its theme, Romano hopes that it creates an opportunity for those needing a place to stay during Penn State home football weekends, as well as Philipsburg-related activities.
“People (at the games) are always talking about how they can’t get rooms,” Romano said. “Everything within 25 miles around that stadium that has the potential to be rented, should be rented. I already have people calling me for reservations for football games, for graduation and for (Philipsburg) Heritage Days. I have two people that are already booked for two weeks so they can do the Osceola Mills parade and then Heritage Days.”
Those interested in staying at We Are Inn can contact Romano at (215) 594-2782.