June 01, 2020
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Latest Portland project continues hotel boom, adds rooftop bar

Courtesy of Fathom Cos.
Courtesy of Fathom Cos.
This artistic rendering shows a proposed 135-room hotel at the intersection of Center and Commercial streets in Portland, where developers want to build a Canopy by Hilton.

A new 135-room hotel in Portland’s Old Port will be a Canopy by Hilton hotel and feature what the company is calling the city’s first indoor-outdoor rooftop bar.

Local developer Jim Brady told MaineBiz in December the six-story hotel will be built on the corner of Center and Commercial streets, continuing in what has been a hotel boom for Portland in recent years.

At the time, no franchise deal with a national hospitality brand was announced. That came Wednesday, when Brady’s Fathom Cos. announced the hotel would be a Canopy by Hilton, described as the hotel giant’s locally-focused “lifestyle brand.”

[Developer proposes new restaurant, hotel and rooftop bar in Portland]

“Portland, Maine, has a palpable sense of place — from Casco Bay views dotted with islands and lighthouses to cobblestone streets, exceptional food and drink scene, and vibrant arts community — all with a welcoming New England lifestyle twist,” Brady said in a statement. “Canopy by Hilton was a perfect choice for this new property and travelers looking for a distinctly Portland, Maine, experience.”

The city’s newest hotel will have a street-level restaurant as well as the aforementioned indoor-outdoor rooftop bar. There are other rooftop bars in the city — like the outdoor bars atop Mathew’s and Bayside Bowl, and the enclosed Top of the East — but Fathom is promoting this as the city’s first indoor-outdoor one.

Hotel projects along Portland’s waterfront promise to add as many as 700 new hotel rooms to the city in the coming years, according to the Portland Press Herald, continuing a development surge that already saw hundreds of new rooms added to the city’s inventory over the previous seven years.

[Tempers flare in Falmouth over proposed development]

But even with a sharp increase in supply, hoteliers are making money on Maine’s largest city. Revenue per available room — a number used by hotels to gauge business success — skyrocketed from $64.99 in 2012 to $96.28 last year even as Portland piled on more and more rooms, the Press Herald reported.

Occupancy rates also climbed over that stretch, from 59.1 percent to 68.1 percent, the newspaper reported.

In its Wednesday announcement, Fathom said it anticipates Historic Preservation Board and Planning Board approvals in the second quarter of this year, followed by a groundbreaking at the site in the fall. Fathom hopes to open the hotel in 2021.

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