by Sarah J.F. Braley | August 07, 2017
Construction officially began Aug. 4 on the 600-room Hyatt Regency Portland (Ore.), the long-awaited headquarters hotel for the Oregon Convention Center. Portland dignitaries and officials met in the city's Lloyd District celebrate the beginning of the $224 million project. The hotel is expected to open in 2019.

In keeping with Portland's reputation as one of the greenest cities in the country, sustainability practices will be used in the construction, and the hotel is expected to be LEED-certified. Officials have estimated that the region's convention business will grow by one-third once the hotel is open. The Hyatt also is expected to increase the Portland area's annual hotel business by 70,000 to 110,000 room nights. As part of the process of bringing the Hyatt to the city, the hotel company signed a labor peace agreement with Unite Here, the hospitality-workers union, allowing the hotel's employees to unionize if they so choose. 

"One of Portland's greatest strengths is the city's hospitality," explains Jeff Miller, president and CEO of Travel Portland. "From travel and tourism to food and beverage, our people know how to offer one-of-a-kind and inclusive experiences. Hyatt Regency Portland at the Oregon Convention Center will present us with more opportunities to show the world what a vibrant, progressive and welcoming city Portland is."
 
The new Hyatt will feature 32,000 square feet of meeting space, a restaurant and a bar. The property will be at the northern end of the convention center, across from the center's plaza, which will undergo a $35 million renovation starting next year. The aim of the plaza renovations is to create outdoor event space for concerts, receptions and other convention events.

"Meeting planners are genuinely excited about the new Hyatt Regency Portland, and are already asking us when they can begin booking rooms," said Matt Pizzuti, deputy director of the Oregon Convention Center. "Groups that viewed Portland as an attractive destination but just couldn't manage the logistics of placing a large number of attendees all over the city sometimes opted for other venues, mainly because they offered the convenience of a large, upscale hotel. We know having the Hyatt directly across the street will help make the convention center an optimal choice."

The hotel will be along a bus line, a streetcar line, a MAX light-rail line and next to a bike-share station for easy exploration of downtown Portland, as well as access to Portland International Airport. Lloyd Center, Oregon's largest shopping mall, is in the midst of a two-year remodel, adding new full-service restaurants to a mix of retail spaces.