The clock is ticking for Hotel Modera's scheduled May 30 opening, an ambitious project that began work just six months ago. Soon to be a testament to luxe mid-century styling, a deep $12 million-plus facelift has transformed the former Portland Inn City Center—purchased last June for $13.6 million according to general manager of the hotel and principal owner Desmond Mollendor.
caught a sneak peek of the chic boutique hotel as a cast of construction workers in orange jackets and hard hats scurried throughout the building, finishing painting, plumbing, woodwork and marble installations as the opening day careens closer. Built in 1962, the hotel had become so shabby, Mollendor says, that few people were staying there when he and his Seattle-based partners with Posh Ventures bought the property. The Portland State University grad says he saw an opportunity to cater to business travelers coming to the surrounding office high rises. “It was a great find —and a great location,” Mollendor says of discovering the aging hotel himself.
With the Portland streetcar construction underway at the west boundary of the property, Mollendor says they're shifting the car entrance to Clay Street, and have transformed what was once a swimming pool and circular driveway into a lush court yard, complete with a “living wall,” planters of small trees and fire pits. About half of the courtyard will be devoted to outside dining space, once a restaurant tenant for the 7,000-square-foot space is secured, Mollendor says. The same group of partners, Mollendor says, has opened six of hotels together, including Tacoma's Hotel Murano and Seattle's Hotel Andra. Highly regarded Seattle chef Tom Douglas' restaurant Lola is located in Hotel Andra.
The group purchased the hotel in June of last year and operated it for five months before closing it down for renovation in November. Completing a job of this magnitude is such a short period of time, Mollendor says, is practically unheard of in his industry. “It's pretty damn amazing,” he says.
Hotel Modera, 515 SW Clay St., 221-1611, http://www.hotelmodera.com/, currently taking reservations starting May 30.