PORTLAND, Ore. -- Political leaders gathered with economic development staff and contractors to celebrate the symbolic but very real sign that the long awaited Oregon Convention Center Headquarters Hotel will soon be built.
It will be called the Hyatt Regency Portland.
The new hotel will stand 14 stories tall and cover most of a bare lot on the north side of the MAX tracks and convention center in Northeast Portland.
Construction will begin in just over two weeks and last two years.
The project will employ as many as 2,000 workers and bring multiple challenges to contractors.
“It’s a very, very tight site. And we have to keep all of the traffic flowing around the building at all times,” said Dan Mehls, Vice President and General Manager of Mortenson, which will oversee construction of the building.
“It has, in some areas, zero lot line and we have to do what’s called just in time delivery, where materials arrive just in time to put them in place instead of having an area to store,” he said.
The total price tag is an estimated $224 million.
Hyatt Regency will pay $150 million. The public covers the rest.
Metro will issue $60 million in revenue bonds, which will be paid back by taxes on hotel guests.
Another $10 million will come from the Oregon lottery and $4 million will come from from convention center reserves.
Mayor Ted Wheeler is pleased.
“This area has been skipped over for a long time. And so economically I think this will be a real boon to this part of the community,” he said at the groundbreaking.
Leaders at Travel Portland are thrilled.
“This is a long time coming and this is a monumental day,” said Steve Faulk.
He’s referring to the long, tortured history of trying to build a headquarters hotel. It stretches back 27 years to the time the convention center opened.
At the time, other hotel operators helped quiet the idea, worried they would lose business. Then the economy took a nose dive, again derailing the plans.
But now the hotel’s time has come.
Faulk believes a big hotel will help unite downtown and the Lloyd district.
“Yes Portland is separated by a river but the reality is it’s a minute's walk and we see this really pulling downtown and the Lloyd district together as one. It’s going to make for an exciting destination,” he said.
The groundbreaking was the fun part.
The real dirt moving is scheduled for August 21, the same day as the eclipse.