Historic downtown Portland building to be converted into boutique hotel

Historic downtown Portland building to be converted into boutique hotel

PORTLAND, Ore. - A historic building in downtown that is home to Portland's oldest restaurant is being converted into a boutique hotel.

Most commercial tenants in the Oregon Pioneer Building at 409 S.W. Third Ave. have been asked to find new premises by owner BPR Properties, which bought it in January for $4.95 million.

Some of the businesses who have been asked to leave have been tenants for decades.

Huber's restaurant, which was founded in 1879 and is the city's oldest restaurant, has been invited to stay along with barbershop Tonsorial Parlor. Both businesses anticipate that the hotel will generate significant foot traffic for them.

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But departing tenants, who say they learned of the plans in January and February, are less pleased.

Some, such as Azumano Travel and Lebanese restaurant Karam, have already relocated or soon will. Karam has moved to 515 S.W. Fourth Ave. and Azumano Travel will move two blocks west in July.

Long-time tenant Decades Vintage has been unable to find a suitable new site. Owner John Cosgrove is looking for a new downtown location within his budget but said for now the retro store will operate only online, via its website and through its eBay and Etsy stores.

"I think we are all pretty exasperated about it," said Cosgrove, a tenant since 1999. "It wasn't our choice to move."

"I think a lot of smaller businesses are getting and will continue to be priced out of the market. If you compare Portland to a Monopoly board, it has a Boardwalk and a Park Place and along those particular streets old businesses are moving out and new businesses are coming in."

James Louie, who co-owns Huber's with his sister Lucille and brother David, said the restaurant plans to tweak its menu to meet expected demand from hotel guests.

"Having a hotel which is constantly full of people coming in should help our business," he said.

"They haven't asked me but I suspect they will probably provide room service and they might want us to open for breakfast."

The 150-seat restaurant has now been owned by the Louie family for three generations. It is the only tenant to have been in the building since it was constructed in 1910.

Business owners at the site say Palo Alto, California-based BPR originally planned to begin construction this month, but granted additional time to some long-term tenants who were unable to relocate by then. Building work is now unlikely to begin until at least July.

A spokesperson for BPR was not immediately available for comment.