May 22, 2019
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Furniture company proposes boutique hotel on Portland waterfront

Troy R. Bennett | BDN
Troy R. Bennett | BDN
The Portland Company complex on Fore Street in Portland.

Furniture company West Elm announced plans Aug. 1 to build a 150-room boutique hotel as part of the redevelopment of a larger waterfront complex in Portland.

The hotel is proposed to be included in the redevelopment of the historic Portland Co. complex on the eastern waterfront, overseen by Portland Foreside Development Company, LLC.

West Elm, which has a furniture retail store in the city’s downtown, has been branching out into hospitality through a partnership with hotel management company DDK.

“Portland has experienced a renaissance within the past decade, creating a distinct and modern vibe, while honoring its maritime history,” said Peter Fowler, vice president of West Elm Hospitality, in a statement. “Our collaboration with Portland Foreside Development Company brings forth local knowledge and expertise that will deliver an original experience for guests, as well as the surrounding seaside community.”

The 10-acre, mixed-use development plan for the former railroad foundry at 58 Fore St. also includes shops, restaurants, a 220-boat marina and, in a mix of existing brick and modern glass buildings, hundreds of units of housing. The hotel would be situated directly east of the Ocean Gateway Terminal.

The ambitious — but at least at one point, controversial — project was the focus of a 2015 citywide referendum forced by a petition circulated by citizens, many of whom were upset that the proposed building heights at the location would block waterfront views from nearby Munjoy Hill.

In other hospitality news in Portland, the Portland Press Herald reported that Reger Dasco Properties is proposing to add a 128-room hotel and conference room to its previously announced plans to redevelop the former Rufus Deering Lumber yard on Commercial Street. The project had previously just included condominiums and market-rate apartments.

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