A long neglected building in Old Town is currently being converted into “affordable boutique hotel” to be known as the Society Hotel. The hotel at NW 3rd & Davis will offer a mix of accommodation in 39 rooms, including a bunk room, private rooms with shared bathrooms, and en-suite rooms. A new rooftop terrace will be created, with 360 degree views. The project also includes a full seismic upgrade, and a number of life safety upgrades to the building. The architectural design of the conversion is being led by Integrate Architecture, with retired architect Bill Hawkins acting as a consultant on historic issues.
Originally known as the Mariner’s Home Building, the building is a contributing resource in both the New Chinatown / Japantown Historic District and the Skidmore / Old Town Historic District. It was built in 1882 by the Portland Seamen’s Friend Society, and originally served as home for itinerant sailors who were down on their luck. During the early Twentieth Century it was known as the New Wah Mei building, and housed a variety of Chinese and Japanese businesses. Most recently Macdonald Center partially occupied the ground floor, before moving to the their new building on Burnside. The building has otherwise mostly been vacant for the last 50 years, and a photo gallery in the Daily Journal of Commerce shows decayed the interior was.
The project’s owners are Matt Siegel and Jessie Burke, who were profiled in an article at OPB in February. In a video made around the same time, Burke describes her goals for the project, and the positive reaction she has received so far:
A Historic Resource Review [PDF] was approved in April 2014, which concluded that the project is “especially welcome because it provides the first reuse of long vacant upper floors in the New Chinatown Japantown Historic District in many years.” Construction began in September. The Society Hotel is scheduled to open in summer 2015.