The Developing Story: Portland

The city that boasts the most breweries in the world—58 and counting—would certainly be a tourist draw. But when it comes to Portland, Ore., a hopping beer scene is not the only thing that sets the location apart from other destinations. Nestled between the Pacific Ocean and the Cascade Range, Portland’s 14,000 acres of green space, monthly gallery tours, and booming technology scene—home to tech giants Intel, Genentech, and Integra—are all area draws. And you can’t forget about Nike; the world’s largest athletic-gear maker’s headquarters are located fewer than 10 miles away in the town of Beaverton.

Beyond the people visiting and living in Portland, developers from far-away cities like New York and Washington, D.C., have shown an interest in the area. Though Portland’s year-end RevPAR soared above the national average of 7.2 percent at 9.1 percent because of limited room supply, the city is in the middle of a construction boom that will refresh the hotel stock. This period of development includes four hotel projects to begin within the next year and five projects already under construction, including The Porter hotel, a 299-room soft-branded property being developed by the Widewaters Group. And after a long legal battle, a proposed 600-room Hyatt-branded convention center hotel is also moving forward with public funding.

“Demand levels and occupancy levels have now surpassed previous highs,” says Kasia Russell, managing director, senior partner, consulting and valuation at HVS. “We have more accommodative room nights in our city than we’ve ever had before. So, now is the time when hoteliers are driving RevPAR through aggressive and strategic increases in average rate.”


Head of the HVS Portland office, Russell sees developers more commonly noticing the perks of developing in Portland over Tier 1 cities. “With barriers to entry so high in other western cities like San Francisco and Seattle, Portland is becoming increasingly attractive,” she says. “It’s cheaper to get land here, but you’re still going to get a highly educated workforce, you’re still going to get the convenience of a market that’s between Seattle and San Francisco, the weather is temperate—there are a lot of fundamental benefits for investors.”

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Dave Pollin, co-founder and president of the Buccini/Pollin Group, says Portland’s multi-faceted culture will lend itself well to the feel of Canopy by Hilton, the company’s recently launched upper upscale lifestyle brand. The property, which is located in Portland’s Pearl District, is on track to break ground in 2016.

  • “The Pearl District was an urban industrial park with remarkable architecture. We’re incorporating that architecture, including factories and warehouses, not just building the most cost-effective building.”
  • “We are sure we want to highlight Portland’s rich F&B scene in Canopy’s F&B offerings. Through Canopy’s daily beverage tasting, we plan to showcase members of Portland’s Distillery Row, such as Eastside Distilling and New Deal Distilling, and many of Portland’s great breweries, such as Hair of the Dog Brewing Company and Commons Brewery.”
  • “During the week, we anticipate having a lot of business travelers who want personalized service. There’s also a tremendous amount of international travel. Portland and Tokyo, for example, have a wonderful relationship.”