REDMOND, OR -- Construction crews are now working on a major renovation project in downtown Redmond, to convert the New Redmond Hotel at 6th and Evergreen into the city's first boutique hotel. City leaders and preservation experts toured the site on Friday. The city has committed $670,000 in urban renewal funds for the project, saying a high-end lodging option will keep visitors in downtown Redmond instead of looking for a place to stay in Bend.
Lydia Ness, with Restore Oregon
, tells KBND News construction crews have their work cut out for them, "Maintaining that historic integrity but also modernizing it and moving it up to code and all of those different things - I know it's a challenge. But, also, seeing the beauty retained in the historic character and integrity, I think, is what makes it all worth it." The New Redmond Hotel was built in 1928, after the original Redmond Hotel burned down. It hasn't seen an overnight guest since 2005. In 1980, Restore Oregon was charged with ensuring any work done on the exterior of the building doesn't compromise its history. That includes construction of the rooftop bar, slated to open in July. "It's retaining that integrity and that character of what any person walking down downtown Redmond sees and feels," says Ness, "and that's what we care about and what needs to remain." The State Preservation Office is also closely monitoring construction.
Andy Ferchland, with the project management firm Allied Partners, admits work must be done carefully, "The challenges with these buildings is always 'what's behind the walls that we can't see?' which usually has dollar figures attached to it. The biggest surprise were the bats living on the third floor in the ceiling, but we got that taken care of right away." Other than those critters, Ferchland says work is proceeding as expected, so far. He tells KBND News the new design
aims to put a modern twist on the structure, while complimenting its history, "They [owners] want this to be Redmond's living Room. If you put that mental picture in and you picture that this is to be inviting for not just hotel guests who who walk through the front door, but anybody. Come in the lobby bar and enjoy, relax like you would in your living room. Pop up to the rooftop bar; And then, with the shared workspace they're going to have in the back. So, really just a good representation of everything Redmond has to offer."
The developer hopes to have the first floor lobby open in September and the 48 guest rooms are slated to be ready by next spring, at an average rate of $133 a night. They have not yet settled on a new name, but Lydia Ness says the original "New Redmond Hotel" sign will remain.
City officials say the fire escapes featured on the side of the building will likely have to be decomissioned.
Preservation experts hope some of the building's original charm, like these solid wood guestroom doors with vents, can be retained.