Owners plan to pay residents $2,500 per unit

PORTLAND — The new owners of the Eastland Park Hotel will provide tenants $2,500 a unit to relocate and will donate old hotel furniture to area nonprofits.

But it’s unclear when the estimated 10- to 14-month renovation will begin.

Penny St. Louis, the city’s Planning and Urban Development director, said Monday Rockbridge Capital is still working on securing approximately $35 million in financing to renovate the 241-room downtown hotel.

St. Louis said the company is in the process of drafting a notice to about 29 year-round tenants of the hotel. They will be told that each unit is eligible for $2,500 to help offset relocation costs, she said.

In addition to donating furniture and providing relocation funds, Adam Valente, of the Ohio-based Rockbridge, said the company is also considering donating dishes, silverware and other items the hotel might not need after the renovation.

But the company is not yet in a position to commit to that, Valente said.

“We hope it expends beyond the furniture,” he said. “We just want to do the right thing.”

St. Louis said she thinks the company is “trying to be part of the community and be a good neighbor.”

Rockbridge Capital is scheduled to review plans to expand the Top of the East restaurant and bar, and replace the existing entrance canopy on High Street.

Project architect John Turk said the company is proposing a 1,500-square-foot addition to the Top of the East, bringing it about 38 feet closer to the High Street side of the building.

Turk said the company is also planning on removing the current entry canopy on High Street and replacing it with new steel-and-glass canopy that is “envisioned as a transparent counterpoint to the massive brick and limestone facade.”

A mock-up of the new entrance bears the name Westin.

Valente said Westin is “the front-runner” for the hotel affiliation, but the company is not ready to make any formal announcements. He described the hotel chain as having a “four-diamond quality,” and lauded it for its high-end and eco-conscious mission.

“I’m hopeful here in the near term will have that wrapped up, and we can make a more formal announcement,” he said. “Westin is a fantastic brand. … We think it fits very well.”

New Castle Hotels & Resorts will operate the hotel on a day-to-day basis.

Valente said the company has nearly completed its preliminary research and will begin seeking approvals for the work. He said the existing first-floor restaurant will likely be moved closer to High Street.

But it is still unclear when the project will begin, and whether the hotel and restaurants will be closed throughout the renovation, which he said could take 10 to 14 months. 

“It’s much less important to maximize revenue in the short term,” he said. “We really wouldn’t want to stub our toe or create any ill will.”

Those details, he said, would likely be announced by the end of this year.

“We just need to continue to work hard and make sure … that the stars remain aligned and it can all come together,” he said. “It’s a major undertaking, but it’s what we do.”

Randy Billings can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 100 or [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter: @randybillings

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