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Moxy Portland hotel breaks ground on former food cart site, aiming to bring to the West End a boutique touch with a Marriott backbone.

COURTESY: SRG GROUP - A rendering of the Moxy Hotel, which will occupy the quarter lot home to the smaller part of the Alder Street food pod and included carts such as Nong's Khao Man Ghai. It is slated to open in mid-2020.

The latest piece of Goodman Family property downtown came into play Wednesday.

Graves Hospitality broke ground on Marriott's first Moxy hotel in Portland. Moxy is a boutique style brand owned by Marriott, originating in Europe. The 197-room Portland Moxy will be 12 stories high and occupy three-sixteenths of a block on the corner of Southwest 10th Avenue and Alder Street. The space was formerly occupied by some food carts including Nong's Khao Man Ghai. Across 10th Avenue is the Alder Street food cart pod, which is also a Goodman-owned lot and is also going to be developed as a five-star hotel with offices and apartments attached.

Ben Graves and Matt Mering of Graves Hospitality, who are based in Minneapolis, are the Moxy Portland's developers, owners and operators. The Goodmans still own the land and will rent it to the Moxy owners on a 99-year ground lease. The Moxy is set to open in the summer of 2020.

The design and build is a collaboration between DLR Group, Howard S. Wright Construction, and Urban Resources, the owner's rep.

Steel tariffs

Josh Edgerton, the project manager with Howard S. Wright, said the schedule is as solid as the site is tight. There is only access on two sides, and street traffic is high at all times. "Logistically it will be a challenge, we've only got 175 feet of frontage access," Edgerton told the Business Tribune. There will be a tower crane, a man lift and Fraco scaffolding for the brick. "We're digging down one story, for the mechanical and the hotel staff and fitness areas." The 17-foot dig goes into normal downtown soil. The Troutdale layer of rock, where they'll attach their cast piles, is at 45 feet below grade. "We top out in October 2019 and turn over the building in July 2020."

They were hit with 25 percent tariffs on steel and metal paneling, which are coming in from abroad. "I don't know which country it's coming from, I just know we got hit with the tariffs," said Edgerton.

COURTESY: URBAN RESOURCES, INC. - Present at the groundbreaking were (left to right) Thomas R. Mitchell, DLR Group; Rebecca Buchmeier, DLR Group; Mark Youngblood, KCB Real Estate; Peter Miller, DLR Group; Matt Mering, Graves Hospitality; Ben Graves, Graves Hospitality; Kevin James, Howard S. Wright; Allyn Perkowski, Howard S. Wright; Josh Edgerton, Howard S. Wright; Mike Zupan, Howard S. Wright; Megan Myers, Urban Resources, Inc.; and Scott Maxwell, Howard S. Wright

Bar scene

Moxy Portland amenities will include all-day retail, a full-service bar (which doubles as the check-in desk), and a game room. "The Moxy is uniquely positioned for leisure travelers — we call them 'fun-hunters' — who appreciate all the great amenities both within and mere steps from the hotel," Graves said. "Additionally, modern-day business professionals want to stay where the action is and travel to work as opposed to staying in a business core and traveling for their recreation."

The hotel will include food cart-style dining similar to what it is displacing, as well as a street-level bar.

Graves said it would be like its west-end neighbor the Ace Hotel, which is known as much for its bar and lobby as for its military chic rooms.

"The fun thing about Portland is there are all these unique boutique hotels here, like the Hoxton Hotel (on West Burnside)," Graves told the Business Tribune. "We're onboarding some of those food carts and bring them into our lobby. It'll be a vibrant space, with games like shuffleboard, beer pong and foosball. It'll be a fun place to hang out, we're inviting the neighborhood in."

He continued, "This community of hoteliers is very collaborative, it's a friendly place to do business. We walked over to the Hoxton and the new operating team welcomes us in. I think it's part of the Portland culture and we love it."

Millennials check in at the bar

Mering said the hotel would be millennial focused, and they like their loyalty points. Marriott and Starwood points are good at the Moxy.

Local look

"Our integrated team worked closely with Graves Hospitality and Urban Resources, as well as the City of Portland's Design Commission, to create a building that engages the public and enlivens the area," said DLR Group Principal and Design Leader Stephen Cavanaugh. "From the lobby to the guest rooms, the Moxy Portland will offer contemporary travelers the kind of authentic, local experience they've come to expect."

The DLR Group's design is intended to resemble rainfall and Columbia Gorge basalt. The Moxy Portland is developed, owned, and operated by Graves Hospitality in partnership with KCB Real Estate, and with funding by clients of Washington Capital Management, a local company.

The Moxie Portland is being financed with debt and equity. The debt is coming from Washington Capital Management and the equity is coming from KCB Real Estate and Graves Hospitality. KCB is the majority of the equity/ownership and Graves is the minority owner (but is managing the project and will be operating the hotel).

Graves and Mering said they would like to hold on to the building, and picked KCB because they are known for being long term holders. "We really like the five-year story in Portland but we really, really like the 10-year story. So that was a big factor in picking them," said Mering.


Joseph Gallivan
Reporter, The Business Tribune
971-204-7874
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