Stahl Construction has been doing business in Minnesota for three decades, and the company is comfortable with Minnesota’s climate—for weather and for building. When they built a Residence Inn for Marriott in Minneapolis, their client was impressed and asked them to bid on a similar project in Portland, Oregon.
Stahl’s Portland project was part of the Cascade Station development, land located near the Portland airport. Built in 1999, Cascade Station began as a light rail stop on the way to the airport, but the city of Portland had a bigger vision for the site—an “urban village” that involved retail, hotels and restaurants. After 2001, the project languished, but in 2005, the city changed the zoning requirements to allow big retail tenants. IKEA agreed to build a store on the property, and Best Buy and other retailers followed suit. Three hotel owners—Marriott, Hyatt, and Starwood—also committed to building on the site.
Stahl was the general contractor for the Marriott Residence Inn and Hyatt Place projects. They found that Portland’s climate is a lot different from Minneapolis’s—not just the temperate weather, but the building climate, which has been influenced by Portland’s long-time commitment to sustainability in design and construction. Alisa Kane, Green Building Manager for Portland’s Bureau of Planning and Sustainability, says, “The building code is at the state level as well as the city. We were one of the first states to have an energy code. We know we have a complex regulatory structure, but we want to give builders assistance and make it cost-effective to do business here.”
Portland’s codes led to some adjustments in the building process and in the level of sustainability the finished projects achieved. Brenda Studt, Director of Marketing for Stahl, said, “They weren’t going for LEED certification, but were building to Portland’s standards.” In keeping with local concerns about sustainability, the project recycled 94% of the construction waste and sourced 20% of the building materials within 500 miles of the project—reducing fuel required for transport.
The proximity to public transportation was a sustainable plus for Stahl and its clients. Building materials included recycled content, and low VOC paint was the rule. Both hotels relied on controls for exterior lighting, and common spaces were provided with large, energy-efficient windows to maximize daylight and decrease energy use.
Stahl was able to satisfy the city’s requirements and please both hotel clients. They weren’t fazed by building in Portland. They’re confident enough about more projects to have a Portland office.
Images of Residence Inn and Hyatt Place courtesy of Stahl Construction
Images of Cascade Station courtesy of the Portland Development Commission