By Carol McCracken (Post # 1,990)
“I know there are some who are upset there are no bricks here, so I brought my own,” said Tim Soley, holding up a brick so those crowded into the lobby of the new Hyatt Place could see it. Chuckles rippled through the room of well-wishers because of those who have objected to the exterior of the building on Fore Street. “We wanted to create a building and place that feels like part of the city,” he said.
The first floor of the Hyatt does just that. Constructed of glass, passerbyers can readily see inside the lobby while those inside can enjoy the street scenes on one of the Old Port’s busiest streets. The two are well-connected and that is intentional and unlike other hotels in the Old Port of Portland.
“We wanted to use slate for the exterior, but it turned out to be too expensive,” said hotel architect Patrick Costin, of canal5studio.com. Rather, it’s a synthetic stone made in England. It’s a combination of limestone dust and resin. The two are heated and pressed together to come up with the synthetic. “The color is intended to match the slate from the Monson, Maine slate quarry. It’s a blue-gray color,” said Costin. “We talked with the group from Monson and they sent samples to England. They matched the color.” All of the precutting and drilling was done in England. It was all shipped to a warehouse in Westbrook. “This building was challenging, logistically, to build.” The building is also energy-efficient in a number of ways. There is a turbine on the roof that generates electricity. In fact, it’s a pilot project for EfficiencyMaine. They will be monitoring this project to see if it’s applicable elsewhere.
This is the 199th Hyatt Places in the country. Food is available 24/7 for the public as well as guests Nationally there are 530 Hyatt Hotels which are roughly double the size of Portland’s Hyatt Place with 130 rooms.