City News, ECONOMY

Holman Hotel plans for January opening, adding lodging option downtown

The building that stood at the northwest corner of Ferry and Commercial streets over a century ago was key to Salem’s growth, serving as the home of the state Legislature for over a decade as the Oregon Capitol was under construction.

Now, Matt Smith hopes the seven-story hotel now occupying the lot will play a similar role as Oregon’s capital seeks to attract larger events and continue the growth of downtown into a vibrant, residential neighborhood with nightlife and retail.

“We want to come in and be part of the revitalization of downtown,” said Smith, the general manager for the property.

The Holman Riverfront Park Hotel — a nod to the original Holman Building — is scheduled to open in January following about a year and a half of construction. The property had been the home of a car park since the early 1950s after the original Holman building was torn down.

The $42 million, 127-room property, part of the Hilton Tapestry Collection, is operated by Seattle-based Coast Hospitality Management and owned by Portland-based Sturgeon Development Partners. It will cater primarily to government and business travelers, Smith said, while also adding capacity for weekend events like the Ironman Triathlon that draw crowds to the city.

The hotel’s location at 195 Commercial St. S.E. puts it across the street from the Salem Convention Center and the Grand Hotel — the only other downtown lodging option in the city.

Rather than being competition, Salem business leaders said the new property will allow the city to host larger events that it’s struggled to attract due to a lack of centrally-located lodging.

The city’s other hotels and motels are concentrated along the Interstate 5 corridor in east Salem.

The Grand’s 193 rooms aren’t always enough to accommodate larger events or conferences, including at the convention center, said Kara Kuh, deputy marketing officer for Travel Salem. The convention center can hold up to 2,400 people per day.

“They bring pretty large events and often need additional lodging,” she said.

The Holman, she said, “will be very helpful and make our downtown area more attractive to big convention planners.”

Sheri Wahgren, the city’s downtown revitalization manager, said it will also be a boost to entertainment venues, including the city’s new amphitheater at Riverfront Park.

“We can now attract more multiple-day events … we’re just in our infancy of trying to figure out what (the amphitheater) is going to contribute,” she said. “Now we won’t be held back because we have those additional lodging rooms.”

The Holman Building served as Oregon’s Capitol from about 1859 until the completion of the 1876 Capitol. It was condemned during World War II and demolished in the 1950s (Oregon State Library)

It’s part of a wave of new construction downtown Salem has seen over the past few years, which includes a new YMCA, the Nishioka building and the Court Yard apartments.

Smith says he expects the Holman will attract travelers who want a more modern, urban design and amenities, as well as those loyal to Hilton properties. Salem has other Hilton lodging options along I-5, but nothing in the downtown core.

The hotel offers an extended stay option with 35 rooms available. Smith said. Those rooms have a separate bedroom with a larger lounge and living room area for working, as well as mini kitchens.

He said that option was designed with government workers in mind, noting that Salem had longer-term workers with the Federal Emergency Management Agency visiting following the 2020 wildfires in the Santiam Canyon, and again following the February 2021 ice storm. The extended stay option will also serve people who come to Salem for longer periods during the legislative session.

Suites on the seventh floor have views of Riverfront Park and downtown, while providing space for meetings or larger group events.

The view of Riverfront Park from a seventh-story suite at the Holman Riverfront Park Hotel in downtown Salem on Tuesday, Dec. 6 (Rachel Alexander/Salem Reporter)

The hotel will have valet parking in an indoor garage with 60 spots on the second and third floors. 

The ground floor will include a restaurant and bar, the Pacific Standard, licensed from celebrated Portland bartender Jeffrey Morgenthaler’s restaurant of the same name, Smith said. There will also be a coffee shop and cafe with quicker dining options, as well as a space for people to relax or meet others for coffee.

“We talk about being the living area of Salem,” Smith said. “We want to get out of the stigma that if you’re not a hotel guest, you can’t come in.”

Construction is wrapping up, and the hotel is already booking rooms starting in the spring, with a base rate generally starting at $229 per night.

Smith said people have been inquiring about Ironman weekend in July because other local hotels are already full.

The hotel will employ about 50 workers, he said, 40 of them hourly and 10 salaried, who he expects to begin working around Christmas.

Correction: This article was updated to correct the number of people the convention center can hold. It is up to 2,400; not 400. Salem Reporter apologizes for the error.

Contact reporter Rachel Alexander: [email protected] or 503-575-1241.

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Rachel Alexander is Salem Reporter’s managing editor. She joined Salem Reporter when it was founded in 2018 and covers city news, education, nonprofits and a little bit of everything else. She’s been a journalist in Oregon and Washington for a decade. Outside of work, she’s a skater and board member with Salem’s Cherry City Roller Derby and can often be found with her nose buried in a book.