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Bend Bulletin: Downtown hotel debuts upscale look

Visitors and employees stand in the remodeled lobby of Phoenix Inn Suites in downtown Bend during a special event to show off the hotel’s new look Wednesday night.
Rob Kerr / The Bulletin

After a rocky yearlong renovation involving a lawsuit, Phoenix Inn brings higher-end lodging option to Bend

By Jeff McDonald / The Bulletin

Published: September 11. 2008 4:00AM PST

The remodel was originally planned to cost $1.8 million and include an external paint job and interior work such as new carpet, furniture, vinyl, artwork and plasma television sets in every room, said Tom Penn, general manager of the 117-room hotel in downtown Bend.

After starting the remodel, workers discovered water damage while painting the facade that the owner of the hotel alleges was caused by improper installation of synthetic stucco materials during the hotel’s construction in 1998.

The final price exceeded $3 million after repair costs and lost business were included, according to an attorney for the hotel’s owner, who sued the hotel’s original general contractor last October.

“It was just going to be painted terra cotta or beige,” Penn said. “But when we realized the extent of the structural damage, everything had to come off the front and back of the building.”

The hotel’s owner, Delaware-based Phoenix Inns Hotel Co. LLC, filed suit in Deschutes County Circuit Court against Portland-based Super One Inc. and nine subcontractors, including three from Central Oregon, alleging that faulty workmanship, defective materials and noncompliance with building codes and manufacturer’s guidelines resulted in extensive water damage to the building.

The case is scheduled for mediation in December, said Phillip Joseph, of Portland-based Ball Janik LLP, representing Phoenix Inns Hotel.

Super One’s attorney, Jack Levy, of Smith, Freed & Eberhard, in Portland, disputed the allegation that the building was more than marginally damaged and said some of the siding could have been saved.

“It was economically wasteful to tear off millions of dollars in siding and then to sue a local builder (in Portland) for it,” Levy said Wednesday.

The two-phased project, which includes completely renovated and more upscale rooms, meeting space and common areas, and a more modern, higher-end lobby, will help the downtown hotel compete in an increasingly competitive downtown lodging market, said Doug La Placa, president and CEO of Visit Bend, which markets tourism for the city.

“As downtown Bend has evolved over the last several years into a cosmopolitan and vibrant shopping experience, the one area that hasn’t evolved is the lodging,” La Placa said. “Right now, there is an unmet demand for upper-scale, higher-end lodging opportunities in Bend. Through their renovations, the Phoenix Inn will be able to meet that demand.”

Other hotel properties in Bend, including the Red Lion North and the Riverhouse Hotel & Convention Center, also have renovated their properties in the last year.

Additionally, across Lava Road from the Phoenix Inn, The Oxford Hotel is under construction. The 56-room hotel is being billed as a full-service, upscale property.

Tourism has sloughed this summer as the economic downturn has taken its toll, according to La Placa.

Room-tax collections have dropped 8.8 percent and 10.5 percent in June and July, respectively, according to the latest data provided by the city of Bend.

Many Bend hotels, including the Phoenix Inn, dropped their rates this summer to maintain occupancy, Penn said.

Jeff McDonald can be reached at 541-383-0323 or at jmcdonald@bendbulletin.com.

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