Portland's ex-Governor (Hotel) gets a $6M makeover, new name

Portland's ex-Governor (Hotel) gets a $6M makeover, new name
The Sentinel Hotel takes its new name from sentinel-like figures at the roofline of the Elks Building, which forms the western half of the 100-room hotel at 614 S.W. 11th Ave. (Photo courtesy: Provenance Hotel Group)

PORTLAND, Ore. -- Oregon has another ex-Governor.

Provenance Hotel Group is renaming the 100-room Governor hotel. The new name is The Sentinel Hotel and arrives following a $6 million renovation that updated guest rooms as well as the hotel’s ballrooms and various meeting spaces. Click the image at right to view a gallery of the remodel.

Portland-based Provenance Hotel Group will debut the modernized hotel, 614 S.W. 11th Ave., in March.

To honor the update, Provenance is shedding the “Governor” name for “The Sentinel,” which is taken from a sentinel-like figure carved in the cornice of one of the two buildings that comprise the property.

The old name was something of a construct, explains Bashar Wali, president of Provenance.

“The name is not original,” said Bashar Wali. The Governor was created around 1992 under prior owners, who united the historic Seward Hotel with the former Elks Lodge, aka the Princeton Hotel, into a single entity.

Both buildings are historic in nature but have no apparent claim to fame.

Wali said it made sense to rebrand the gleaming hotel rather than try to revive a name that to many, suggested a tired property in need of a spruce up.

Provenance and Dallas-based Woodbine Development Co. paid $20 million for the hotel in 2012 after the prior owner fell on hard times and the property was turned over to the Royal Bank of Scotland.

Provenance and Woodbine invested in a near-total renovation that bought fresh paint and furnishings to guest rooms and its well-known meeting venues, including a pair of ballrooms that are frequent settings for business gatherings. The former “Heritage” ballroom is being renamed the “Governor” ballroom too keep the old name alive.

Wali called the investment a long-term play for Provenance and its partners.

“We are forever owners,” he said.

Provenance left one area of the former Governor untouched for now. The basement, once home to the Princeton Athletic Club, is eerily empty, save for the occasional visit by TV production crews.

Wali hopes to enlist a fitness center operator to revive that facility for dues-paying members as well as hotel guests.

The hotel isn’t the only thing getting a new face.

The Sentinel lobby is flanked by two eating spaces — a Starbucks facing to the north and a another to the south.

The Starbucks Coffee shop is now a Starbucks Evenings, one of two Portland locations where customers can have beer and wine along with their java.

On the opposite side of the lobby, John Janulis and partner Jacob Carey are putting the finishing touches on Jacknife, dark-paneled bar and grill that aims to add a new destination to Portland’s west end.

The Jacknife team are veteran restaurateurs with Southeast Portland’s Dig A Pony and a host of other Portland dining venues in their portfolio.

Jake’s Restaurant will continue to operate on the opposite side of the hotel.

It isn’t the first time Provenance has taken a well-known landmark and given it a new name.

It employed the same strategy when it purchased the Hotel Mallory in 2006 and renamed it the Hotel DeLuxe following a $10 million renovation, and before that, the Imperial Hotel was refashioned into the Hotel Lucia.

“We don’t do it for the ego,” Wali said. “We do what’s right for the real estate.”

Provenance owns five hotels in Portland, of which it manages three. The Hotels Lucia, DeLuxe and Sentinel collectively have 357 rooms and operate as boutiques.The privately held company also owns or has ownership positions in the 205 -room Westin Hotel and the 287-room Benson.

It is an active investor in turnaround properties around the country. In the past year, it acquired a turnaround hotel project in the Warehouse District of New Orleans and an unbuilt hotel development project on the sand in Hermosa Beach, Calif.

Click through the gallery above for a look at the renovations underway at The Sentinel.

The Portland Business Journal is a KATU.com news partner.

More from our partner: Ex-Goldman Sachs execs hope for eight-figure payoff from sale of prominent Portland hotel