A Portland investment group has concluded purchase of the Hood River Hotel, the grand dame of Hood River lodging properties, for a reported $4.35 million.
After five years in search of a buyer — and an original listing price of $5.5 million — the 1910 structure shifts from ownership of Brian Cunninghame to Hood River Hotel Partners LLC. The buyers include five investors, among them Tod Breslau, co-owner of the popular inner eastside hipster hangout, The Jupiter Hotel.
For people unfamiliar with the Jupiter, Breslau’s partner, Kelsey Bunker, describes their intent this way:
“The Jupiter Hotel was born out of a desire for a hotel with good design aesthetics that didn’t break the bank. We wanted a place where you could go as stranger and end up being part of a community, where the underground became the obvious, where you were rewarded for looking a little deeper.”
Cunninghame and the buyers concluded the purchase on Tuesday, Jan. 3. Hood River commercial Realtor Greg Colt handled the transaction.
Members of the investment group were meeting with Hood River Hotel employees on-site Wednesday, to discuss the transition.
“The buyer is going to do a major renovation and remodeling,” Cunninghame says. “They will take it to a true boutique hotel.”
Breslau dates his involvement with hotels, nightclubs and restaurants to the early 1980s, when he was living in Los Angeles.
“We’re excited to be part of the community,” he says. “My main home and brokerage and business are in Portland, but we (the investors) all love the Gorge.”
He says they plan no major remodeling that would necessitate a temporary closure of the hotel.
“We will continue with the property as it sits,” he says. “We will improve finishes and touches and nuances to the property over time, but we’re not shutting it down, and plan no major renovations. We’ll just improve it over time.”
Breslau said locals should not expect a project linked stylistically or in its business model to The Jupiter Hotel.
“It will just be the Hood River Hotel,” he says.
After a 28-year career in land management with the Bureau of Land Management, Cunninghame moved to Hood River in 1998 and purchased the Hood River Hotel in the summer of 2000 from Pasquale and Jacquie Barone. The Barones had completed an extensive remodeling of the hotel after buying it a decade earlier.
He recalls that he was looking for some additional real estate investments in Hood River, expecting to wind down some consulting work for the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs. Shortly after purchasing the hotel, the Tribes asked him to take on additional work, limiting his day-to-day involvement.
He credited hotel general manager Cathy Butterfield and assistant manager Patricia Byrnes and the hotel’s staff with making absentee ownership easier.
” I thought the asset was the property, but I found out that the real asset was Cathy and Patricia,” he said.
Cunninghame, 71, now makes his home in Eagle Crest near Redmond. He says he has a three-year contract of sale with the buyers. After that concludes, he says he should have a better idea of what retirement will look like.
Chad Hinman, owner of the Broder Ost restaurant on the main level of the Hood River Hotel, says early conversations have touched on the addition of dinner service, and some adjustments to the space available to diners.
(For other classic photos of the Hood River Hotel and its antecedent Mt. Hood Hotel, visit the Historic Hood River site, curated and maintained by Arthur Babitz)