Wednesday, April 15, 2015, 10:22am PDT
by Jon Bell
Portland Business Journal
Just a few months ago, almost any vantage point from inside the former Red Lion Hotel on Northeast Grand Avenue offered expansive views of the city in just about every direction.
The reason: the 1960s-era hotel had been gutted and stripped down to its steel and concrete skeleton as part of a $10 million remake.
“It was just columns and concrete floors and ceilings, and we took everything else out in between,” said Desmond Mollendor, general manager and a partner with Grand Ventures Hotel LLC, the firm behind the renovation. “You could see right through the building.”
With just a few weeks to go before the hotel reopens on May 5 as the Hotel Eastlund, that’s not the case any longer. The 168-room hotel has been nearly built anew, with a much more pedestrian-friendly setup, revamped rooms and meeting spaces and two new restaurants from Portland’s David Machado.
No longer can one see right through the building, but the hotel still offers commanding vistas of the downtown skyline, the booming Lloyd District and even an occasional peek at Mt. St. Helens.
The roughly nine-month renovation, led by S.D. Deacon, is expected to wrap up in time for a May 5 opening. The hotel has already begun taking reservations, with rooms starting at $189 per night. When it opens, the Eastlund will employ about 65 staff members. The two restaurants will have between 80 and 85 employees, according to Mollendor.