After a 28 year hiatus, the historic Cornelius Hotel has finally opened once again with new owners, the newly conjoined Woodlark Building, and a new name – the Woodlark House of Welcome.
Merely five years ago the Cornelius Hotel was scheduled for demolition. The hotel, located in the heart of downtown Portland, was built in 1908, and placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1986. Due in part to the economic crash of 2008 it was set to be destroyed but was saved when the building was sold for $2.1 million. That started the almost $70 million journey to restore the hotel to its former glory – with a uniquely interesting problem.
Next door to the Cornelius Hotel, opened in 1912, sits the Woodlark Building. Another historic structure, the Woodlark was set to be destroyed along with the Cornelius Hotel in 2013. The Woodlark Building was purchased for $6.9 million along with the Cornelius Hotel, and what followed is the painstaking difficulty of combining the two building into a brand-new hotel. The two conjoined buildings look completely different, and the floors don’t line up. These challenges along with a laundry list of others are responsible for the massive restoration bill.
Today, the recently opened Woodlark House of Welcome, not only has overcome these problems, but highlights them with tastefully and thoughtfully designed interiors. There are separate key cards and separate design themes matching the building’s separate exterior facades to help guests navigate the two buildings.
We had the pleasure to get to work on this project with the help of LCG Pence and local firm R&A Architecture + Design. We built a total of six entryway systems, 29 windows at the mezzanine level, and 25 windows at the basement clerestory level. The project took an estimated 2600 hours of total shop time and is one of the largest projects we’ve ever worked on.
Although this project started years ago, the re-opening of the historic hotel was one of our highlights from this past year, and we are well into our next historic hotel restoration – stay tuned!