A Convention Hotel by Any Other Name…
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City of Portland officials have proposed developing a new stadium in the Rose Quarter for the Portland Beavers baseball team, hoping to attract a major league soccer team to the Rose City.
Meanwhile, the Ambridge Event Center (located directly across from the Convention Center and the Rose Quarter) has been purchased by a subsidiary of the Schlesinger Companies, with a view toward future development of the property.
One block north is the property owned by Metro where, if approved, a publicly funded $205 million Convention Center hotel would be built. The reason Metro has wanted to build the hotel using taxpayer money is that no hotel chain could justify the expense versus the return. By Metro’s own estimates, a Convention Center hotel would have a $40 million shortfall.
But if a new stadium were built near the Rose Quarter, the Ambridge and Metro properties could increase a new hotel’s profitability. A major hotel chain might not hesitate to build there, knowing a hotel on that site would make money from both sports and convention business.
Metro (and the city of Portland) should place a permanent hold on the idea of a subsidized hotel of any kind. Building hotels is not a proper function of government. If a new hotel near the Rose Quarter is a good investment, a private company will build one.