New hotel part of many changes in Lloyd District

PORTLAND, Ore. -- If you've ever wondered what two years of planning, nine months of renovating and $15 million can do, on Monday, you can head over to Hotel Eastlund in Portland's Lloyd District for the answer.

The swanky, new building sits on the site of the former Red Lion Hotel. The transformation is only one of many slated to hit the Lloyd District in the next few years.

Crews Thursday were working around the clock, ahead of next week's opening.

"We're under a little pressure, but it's always like this," said hotel owner Alan Battersby.

He says the organized chaos is symbolic of the rapid-fire changes taking place throughout the neighborhood.

"It was late on several cycles. It missed cycles," said Battersby. "And then when the Pearl took off about eight years ago, it got all the attention, and all the money went to the Pearl. I think it is now the Lloyd District's time."

And clearly, he points out, time is of the essence.

Blocks away, the Lloyd Center mall is in the middle of its own $50 million renovation.

Metro is hoping to break ground on a new Convention Center hotel, an estimated two year project, by 2016.

One top of that, crews are putting finishing touches on 4,000 nearby residential units, set to start opening this fall. Once completed, the projects are expected to attract up to 10,000 new residents to the area.

Heads at the Portland Development Commission say they predicted the progress.

"With the infrastructure investments that the city has made, primarily we're talking about lightrail & streetcar and those sorts of things, that investment is starting to pay real dividends in the form of private development that's occurring," said spokesman Shawn Uhlman.

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