It's a good time to be in the hotel business in greater Portland.
For the fifth-consecutive year, Portland's travel industry has had double-digit growth. Downtown Portland hotels have collectively doubled their revenue since 2011.
And it's about to get better, as a half-dozen new, bigger hotels are under construction or in planning in Portland's core. That list includes the Hyatt Regency Portland at the Oregon Convention Center, the long-sought "headquarters hotel" at the corner of Northeast Holladay Street and Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.
At an event Tuesday, leaders from Metro, Portland, the region's travel industry and Hyatt met to discuss the $230 million, 600-room hotel, which is expected to open in 2019.
The hotel is 30 years in the making, but appears to finally have a clear path to construction. Litigation has been settled and a finance plan is in place.
To back the project, Metro is issuing $60 million in bonds, which will be paid back through room taxes on stays at the Hyatt. The project received another $14 million in government grants, but about $157 million of the project's cost will be backed by Hyatt and its development partner, Mortenson Construction.
In exchange, Hyatt will hold many of its rooms as a "block" available to Travel Portland for recruiting larger conventions to the Rose City and meet other conditions.
Steve Faulstick, the executive vice president for convention and international tourism sales for Travel Portland, said the city’s stock is on the rise.
“The time for us to be active is now,” Faulstick said. “Travel Portland has certainly done that and really excited about what the future holds, working with the Hyatt team. This is a long overdue and very exciting project.”
Hyatt vice president Kimo Bertram said Portland is one of the top-requested destinations where the company doesn’t have a hotel, and that Hyatt is excited to work in the market.
“We’ve identified 22 local organizations we need to liaison with to hire, and really embrace the community,” he said.
The project could break ground early next year if everything goes smoothly. Portland Mayor Charlie Hales praised the project’s development team for its work in getting the hotel closer to the finish line.
“In both business and politics, there’s a lot of praise for vision and courage, and certainly that’s been present here,” Hales said to the group at Tuesday’s event, including Metro Council President Tom Hughes. “A couple of underrated virtues have been perseverance and confidence. Tom, you’ve put your heart and soul into this and made it a must-do for everybody. I appreciate the good work that’s gone into this.”
- Nick Christensen, Metro News
The Oregon Convention Center is owned by Metro and managed by the Metro Exposition and Recreation Commission. OCC is a LEED Platinum certified facility hosting groups from around the world and bringing millions of dollars into the Portland and Oregon economy.