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Forging a partnership to ensure lasting preservation of a historic building, the Oregon Historical Society (OHS) has sold the 52,379 sf Sovereign Hotel to the Randall Investment Group. NAI Norris, Beggs & Simpson Senior Vice President Robert Black negotiated the transaction.
The Sovereign Hotel opened to the public in February 1923 as Portland’s first skyscraper. The pricy construction costs of $650,000, which equate to roughly $9 million today, were unprecedented for an extended-stay hotel. Yet, the Sovereign towered at 9 stories and offered the first sweeping views of the city. Unequivocal in both its architecture and scale, the iconic Georgian style peach terra-cotta and brick façade is credited to the brilliance of local Portland architect Carl L. Linde. Linde’s vision earned the Sovereign its recognition as a National Historic Place.
In 1982, the OHS purchased the Sovereign Hotel to expand the Oregon History Center. The natural romance and cultural grandeur of the building proved to be the perfect medium to commission a public mural and renowned artist Richard Haas was tasked to the challenge.
The iconic murals were completed in 1989 with over 14,000 sf in paint. The impressive project covers four sides of the six-sided building and depicts the very heart of Oregon in its spectacular renditions of the Lewis and Clark expedition, the Oregon Trail and the John Jacob Astor Fur Trade.
OHS Executive Director Kerry Tymchuk said, “The OHS Board reached a unanimous decision that the Sovereign deserved an owner who had the expertise and resources to give it the full attention and care it deserves.”
For over two years, the OHS searched for a local philanthropic enthusiast who would serve as a valuable partner in the restoration and active maintenance of the Sovereign Hotel. The new owner needed to have a deep appreciation of the building’s historical and cultural significance, as well as its relationship within the OHS superblock on 1200 SW Park Avenue. The OHS didn’t seek to divorce itself entirely from the Sovereign Hotel, but rather find a new guardian who could assume the building’s great responsibility under their expert advisement. In a highly selective bid, the Randall Investment Group committed to the Oregon Historical Society’s cause.
“The Randall Investment Group respected and understood the cultural value and mission of this deal,” Robert Black said “It was always about doing this the right way and protecting the building’s best interest.”
Today, the Sovereign has 4 stories of office and 44 apartments. NBS Multifamily Management President Susan Stratton will manage the property, while the Randall Investment Group is devoted to its deserved restoration.
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