BPM Real Estate Group announced that the 35-story Ritz-Carlton tower in downtown Portland will open its doors on August 15. This highly anticipated event will give Portlanders their first glimpse into the luxurious mixed-use skyscraper, which has been under construction for several years in a prime location within the city center.
On August 15, the Ritz-Carlton Hotel, located at 900 SW Washington Street, occupying 251 rooms and employing 350 staff members, will officially open its doors as the largest tenant in the building. This significant milestone also marks the beginning of condo buyers’ ability to finalize the purchase of the building’s 132 units. Known as Block 216, the tower is a 1.1 million square foot mixed-use tower that will feature 158,000 square feet of premium office space, according to the developer, and leasing will be managed by JLL.
BPM has also reached an agreement with the Portland Housing Bureau regarding its $7.76 million inclusionary-housing payment, setting the due date for December 31, 2025, according to a recent report in the Portland Business Journal. Inclusionary housing is a city policy that would have required BPM to incorporate affordable housing units into the Ritz tower. In February, it was reported that BPM would be subject to a $7.7 million penalty fee for reneging on their earlier commitment to include over two dozen affordable units. The funds from this penalty will contribute to the city’s affordable housing efforts. BPM stated that the agreed-upon deadline aligns with the program requirements.
According to a Housing Bureau spokesperson, the agreement stipulates that BPM and its lender must make partial payments whenever a condo unit, which would have been designated as an inclusionary housing unit, is sold. While the deadline for full payment is December 31, 2025, if the remaining balance is not settled by then, BPM has committed to paying it off. This agreement provides a definite timeline for planning purposes while ensuring ongoing partial payments as units are sold.
BPM has announced that residential condo sales within the Ritz tower will commence on August 15. A previous report indicated that over 30 of the approximately 130 high-end homes had already been accounted for. As of now, BPM states that 30 percent of the condos have been sold, reflecting around 40 completed deals.
BPM regards the $7.7 million inclusionary housing fee as the largest investment ever made to support affordable housing in Portland. CEO Walter Bowen, who has expressed frustrations with the inclusionary housing policy in the past, expressed optimism about the impact of this investment on affordable housing in the city.
Unveiled in 2019, the Ritz-Carlton tower, with a price tag of $600 million, is a significant addition to the Portland skyline.
BPM recently secured additional financing to ensure funding for the project until the completion of construction and a ramp-up period ending in December of this year. Details about the terms and the lender have not been disclosed.
While some financial information is publicly available, it is worth noting that the tower falls under an opportunity zone project, offering tax breaks on capital gains to investors. Securities filings indicate that Block 216 QOF, LLC, a key entity involved in raising equity for the opportunity zone development, had raised $64 million out of a $120 million offering as of February. Another related entity, Block 216 QOF II, LLC, has had minimal activity since 2021.
Upon reaching full capacity, the Ritz tower is expected to employ 350 staff members to serve guests at the Ritz-Carlton hotel.
Walter Bowen believes that Block 216 will contribute to Portland’s revival, stating in the report, “As one of the tallest towers in Portland, this development is a monumental signifier of the renewal and transformation in store for this city.”