Metro Council President Tom Hughes was recognized last week by Travel Portland for using his "political skill and determination" to bring the city its first full-service convention hotel.
The organization's annual awards program honors a select group of individuals, organizations and businesses for their contributions to the tourism industry over the past year. Hughes received the Portland Award, which recognizes the greatest overall contribution to the promotion of Portland's visitor industry.
The 600-room Hyatt Regency Portland at the Oregon Convention Center, a project 30 years in the making that became a top priority for Hughes, is scheduled to open in late 2019.
"While it was always the vision for a large hotel to compliment the convention center and provide a competitive package for meeting business, the political realities of realizing that vision proved much more challenging than expected," said Travel Portland event emcee Stephanie Stricklen. "It took the election of Tom Hughes to Metro Council president in 2010 to bring a new dynamic to the effort. … He was convinced that the problem was political support, not financial viability."
Hughes directed Metro staff to develop a new proposal that city, county and Metro officials could support and, with his leadership, helped seal the deal with Mortenson Construction and Hyatt Hotels.
Travel Portland says the hotel will give a big boost to the city's ability to attract meeting and convention business. Nearly a dozen conventions have already been booked through 2024.
The hotel, on the northwest corner of Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. and Holladay Street, will feature 32,000 square feet of meeting space, restaurants and views of the city.
Regional leaders expect Hyatt visitors to spend $120 million a year around greater Portland.
The $224 million project includes $150 million from the hotel developer, with the public's share coming from $10 million in state lottery funds, a $4 million grant from the Oregon Convention Center's reserves and a $60 million Metro revenue bond that will be repaid with taxes generated by future hotel guests.