A $27 million renovation of the Oregon Convention Center is set to begin, as Portland prepares for the late 2019 opening of the Hyatt Regency Portland at the Oregon Convention Center.
The renovation, which is funded through the centers reserves built up from good financial management, includes upgrades to the interior of the 28-year-old center, as well as reconstruction of the plaza on the northeast corner, adjacent to MAX and the hotel.
Over the next 18 months, contractor Colas Construction will update the center’s lobbies and ballrooms to improve the center’s competitiveness. The center’s new designs, inspired by Oregon’s landscape, will include lichen-like carpets and forest canopy ceilings. The center’s north plaza will be renovated to provide more flexible and usable space, as well as to improve wayfinding for adjacent hotel guests and transit commuters. These upgrades will allow OCC to continue to provide world-class service for today’s convention needs.
“I am excited that this project will reinvigorate the image of the OCC to local residents and improve our national and international competitiveness for convention business,” said Craig Stroud, executive director of the convention center. “I am thrilled to be working with Colas Construction on this important project.”
The contract is the largest public contract in Oregon history to be awarded to a minority-owned business as the prime contractor. Metro’s procurement process used typical contractor selection criteria and emphasized the value of diversity and inclusion by integrating State or Oregon Certification Office for Business Inclusion and Diversity, or COBID, criteria.
Last year, OCC generated more than $626 million of total spending. Since the August groundbreaking of the Hyatt Regency Portland adjacent to the convention center, convention sales teams have been proposing future city-wide conventions to organizations that have historically overlooked Portland as a destination because of a lack of a convention center headquarters hotel.
Since November, nearly 20 proposals have been accepted for future years, representing 111,000 room nights. With attendees of national conventions spending an average of $404 per day in Oregon, this is an increase of $44.8 million in visitor spending to the region for these future bookings.
National conventions attract and support activities that create jobs and produce robust economic impacts. Throughout Oregon, tourism supports approximately 109,000 jobs with 37,000 of those in the Portland area. Travel is a primary driver of economic growth and job creation in the United States. Oxford Economics reports that growth in travel and tourism employment in a destination tends to be followed by a 1.5 percent rise in broader employment.